Home > Updates > Action Needed to Oppose Tesco Distribution Centre Closures

Action Needed to Oppose Tesco Distribution Centre Closures

We respond to an e-mail received on distribution centres closures

Hi Activist

Thanks for sending Robbie Segal’s pamphlet. Massive shame that Hannett never read her words on Distribution. Tesco announce attacks on workers at 7 distribution sites. Usdaw issues a press statement. But do nothing.

Robbie said that distribution centres should ‘not be left to be picked off one by one’. That is what seems to have happened. Hannett open your eyes to what is happening, Your ‘partnership’ strategy is failing.

Jack, by email


Activist comment: The points you make about Usdaw’s slavish support of partnership with the major retail companies was the reason Robbie and other on Usdaw’s left felt it was essential that John Hannett was challenged for the post of general secretary.

The issue of the attacks against the well organised distribution centres was raised by the Socialist Party supporters back in 2007, when all Tesco distribution sites were circulated with a leaflet calling for coordinated action to defend terms and conditions.

During the 2008 Usdaw general secretary election, the matter was again raised. Robbie’s warnings were ignored.

A recent Usdaw press release, giving the latest number of job loses, illustrates the dangers of Hannett’s passive attitude towards all Tesco’s actions:

1. Closure of Harlow affecting 562 staff

2. Closure of Chesterfield affecting 343 staff

3. Closure of Weybridge affecting 562 staff

4. Reduction in staff numbers at Magor by 146

5. Reduction in staff numbers at Welham Green by 70

Usdaw’s response is to examine ‘the business case for these proposed changes.’ Our members have the right to ask is that all we are going to do. And, surely we already know the business case.

Usdaw’s leaders in 1998 argued for a partnership strategy that declared, ‘It means the union is consulted on a wide range of issues’ and ‘Partnership means proper dialogue with the union before decisions are taken’.

Clearly, Tesco have a long term strategy of weakening our members T&Cs in distribution centres and over the last decade have been slowly implement it, Whereas, Usdaw’s response is to examine the ‘business case’. As the emalier rightly points out ‘Your partnership strategy is failing.’ The Activist considers it is about time the industrial approach of partnership is reassessed by the ADM.

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