Home > Updates > Tesco: Workers Shouldn’t Pay for the Bosses Mistakes

Tesco: Workers Shouldn’t Pay for the Bosses Mistakes

2014 has been a year of gloom for Tesco. Share prices have fell to a 14-year low on Tuesday 6th January 2015, coming after falling profits, corruption in the board room and an overhaul of Tesco’s leadership.

Scott Jones, candidate for Usdaw EC South Wales & Western division

Tesco’s first trading statement of 2015 brought further profits warnings, news of cuts and further attacks on workers. The supermarket giant is set to close 43 ‘unprofitable’ stores, mostly smaller expresses, reduce and relocate its head office and do away with the final salary pension scheme for all staff. It says everything about the bankruptcy of capitalism that this brutal downsizing was met with a sharp rise in the share price!

However, Tesco’s own profit predictions remain in the billions at £1.4 billion and their market share remains a little under three times that of discounters Lidl & Aldi combined. Even when Moody’s announced on Friday a reduction to junk status of Tesco’s short-term debt, it stated that its profit margin would only be reduced to 3-4%.

Despite this Tesco is attempting to balance the books and return to super-profitable ways on the backs of its already low-paid workers. The only ways for a commercial retailer like Tesco to boost profits is to increase sales or cut costs and new CEO Dave Lewis has chosen the latter, with unprecedented store closures and the final nail in the coffin that is a Tesco pension.

Scandalously, Usdaw, the shop workers’ union released a statement which immediately ‘recognises that change is inevitable’ and ‘noting the difficulties facing Tesco’ when it should be immediately pledging to fight against any job losses and attacks on terms and conditions and demanding that Tesco open the books to prove the ‘unprofitability’ of the 43 stores set to close.

In contrast, Unite, which represents many Tesco drivers, demands that Tesco workers should not be made to pay for the failure in the boardroom. However, it is Usdaw that represents the overwhelming majority of Tesco and other supermarket workers and it’s these workers who also need a fighting leadership prepared to take on the bosses now more than ever.

In the union’s upcoming elections Socialist Party members will be building support for the candidates endorsed by the union’s Broad Left. These include Socialist Party members & Tesco workers Scott Jones, who is standing for the Executive Committee (EC) in the South Wales and Western division and Amy Murphy who is standing for re-election to the EC in the Southern division as well as for President of the union.

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