Archive for January, 2014

Activist 48

January 8, 2014 Leave a comment

This issue includes articles on US fast food and retail workers, A New Year message to Usdaw’s general secretary, Tesco face-recognition advertising, Statement on the blog and letters

A New Year message to John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary

January 5, 2014 Leave a comment

From the supporters of the Activist, the newsletter of Socialist Party members in Usdaw

Dear John,

Tesco is facing a Crisis, Guardian; Tesco suffers falls throughout empire, Mirror; Tesco in crisis as sales fall away – worst sales for 20 years, Telegraph;Tesco under pressure as sales fall around the world – like-for-like sales fall 1.5pc in the UK, Daily Mail;Tesco’s profits slide again…

If Tesco is in crisis, which undoubtedly it is, what will be the consequences for our members? But before you listen to Tesco’s tales of woe, we want you to listen to the members working in Tesco.

We are suffering from: under staffing, no overtime, delayed overtime payments, essential equipment not being replaced, bullying from managers and not enough money to pay the bills. The staff is demoralised and not only with management’s pressure but also with the lack of our union’s response.

It is not just Tesco members that are complaining, there are moans from all the companies. Our experiences show that when there are problems in a company, they attempt to solve them at the expense of its workers.

Our rights are being eroded day by day. When the companies are not recruiting and we are doing the work of two, it looks like the union is letting it happen. There is no resistance and that means a complete lack of leadership.

We can remember during our shop steward training exercises dealing with Organising Our Workplace and the benefits of a strong union, we were told that more recruits would make it easier to challenge Tesco and all managements. We now have 70% density in Tesco retail shops.

In the battle for the distribution centres, which were 99% organised and with members willing to fight, you surrendered even before the battle begun. Of course, this defeat was never analysed by the Usdaw bureaucracy. Yet, you could have found it in the writing of the Activist. You sacrificed our strongest section to accommodate Tesco. We can’t allow this to happen again in retail.

It is one thing to delay the fight because you don’t have the forces but there comes a time when we have to fight. The bosses have already began their attack. Our terms and conditions are under attack. The preparation for the fight back must start now.

In anticipation of you becoming a real general secretary,

Yours, The Activist Editorial Board

P.S. We understand that you are having a little local difficulty at the moment with a blog which has resulted in many of our members wondering what the hell is going on in our Union. We are waiting for your response and are wondering why you have not instructed the EC to investigate whether you have abused your powers as general secretary.

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