Archive for December, 2013

Anti-Hannett blog launched

December 2, 2013 1 comment

Over the past weeks, the Activist has received a number of emails commenting on a new blog The blog has detailed some of the undemocratic practices in Usdaw and how John Hannett misuses his position as general secretary.

The blog has raised Hannett’s: first class train travel; the provision of a Jaguar car for free; his £120,000 plus wage and benefits package; giving £1.3m to the Labour party without reference to the EC; taking payment for attending meetings while being paid by Usdaw and yet other trade unionist attendees don’t claim; plans to change the ADM; and the use of a Union credit card. There has been no criticism of Hannett’s policies.

Some of the points illustrated on the blog have been raised by the Activist. However, there are a number of new points that need answering:

1. Has Hannett received any monies for serving on the Low Pay Commission or Acas while still drawing his Usdaw salary?

2. Has Hannett used £1.3m of Usdaw’s political fund without reference to the EC?

3. Has a union provided credit card been used inappropriately?


There has yet been no response from John Hannett to these serious charges made by the blog. However, since these accusations are now in the public arena the EC needs to fully debate these issues and ensure the truth is presented to the members. The EC’s findings must be reported and debated at the ADM.

The Activist applauds all attempts by members to debate the failings of the present leadership of our Union. However our approach is different, the Activist and Socialist Party primarily raises opposition to the partnership and pro-Labour party approach of Hannett. This was shown by Robbie Segal’s pamphlet explaining her challenge to replace Hannett as general secretary.

The first part of the pamphlet challenged the direction John Hannett was taking the union and explained her political views. In the second part, Robbie deals with organisational questions and some of the issues regarding the lack of democratic processes raised during the election campaign.

Robbie won 40% of the vote and if the election had been democratically organised and the issues openly debated undoubtedly her vote would have been even higher and maybe Hannett could have been replaced. As Robbie demanded, It is now time for the EC to take back control of the Union.

Below the Activist republishes Robbie’s programme and we believe it still offers a fighting alternative to the policies pursued by Hannett and the leaders of Usdaw. (Robbie’s pamphlet can still be bought from Socialist Books)


Robbie Segal’s General Secretary election address

Vote Robina (Robbie) Segal: A trade unionist since the age of 19; Tesco union rep for 21 years; member of Usdaw Executive Council for 9 years.

A General Secretary on a worker’s wage: I reject the wage and benefits totalling over £100,000 and the jaguar car the General Secretary receives. I’ll continue to take the wage of a Tesco worker. You can check my expenses.

A Living Wage: Let’s launch a campaign to fight for a living minimum wage of £8 per hour for all workers, from 16 years to retirement age and for a decent pension. To win you have to play a part.

NO TO PARTNERSHIP: Let’s establish Usdaw as a free, democratic independent trade union and restore our vote on pay in Tesco retail. Partnership means Usdaw accepts the dictates of the bosses without consultation.

Absence management: Members are afraid to be off sick. We are bullied and disciplined on return to work. Absence management is the scourge of our membership. Let’s resist Tesco’s proposed 2% target for absence or you’ll be next.

Fight for Union democracy: At the moment the Executive Council simply rubber-stamps the general secretary’s policies, that’s why meetings only last 2 hours. A democratically elected lay-membership Executive Council should be holding the general secretary to account with decisions printed in Arena so that you as a member knows what’s going on.

Women in Usdaw: Let’s campaign for paid parental and carers leave; time off for family emergencies; improve support for women’s health and for those experiencing domestic violence.

Support Distribution workers: The terms and conditions in distribution are being attacked and new sites have worse conditions. I support a distribution workers’ campaign to improve the conditions in the new sites. Let’s encourage retail and distribution workers to campaign together.

New labour: Do you know Usdaw gives New Labour hundreds of thousands of pounds every year? We need a new party to represent working people. For too long our union have been Gordon Brown’s Piggy Bank.

Give women a voice in the union: There are no women at the top of Usdaw centrally and not one woman in a Senior Divisional post. Part-time women are excluded from working for the union. This must change!

Build our Union: Let’s recruit the 2.5 million unorganised retail workers and win real improvements in wages and conditions.


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