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Solidarity with Driscolls workers in San Quintin, Mexico – Support the Global Day of Action 16th August

August 14, 2017 1 comment

Workers for Driscolls, the world largest berry supplier, in San Quintin have been organising for trade union rights as well as decent pay and working conditions.Workers currently earn as little as $6 a day for a 12-15 hour work day.

As part of this campaign they have called for a boycott of Driscolls products until the company agrees these demands, with the latest global soldiarity action taking place on August 16th. This campaign has already forced the company to agree a union contract for its workers in Washington State, in the USA.

Driscolls European arm is a supplier to many of the UK supermarkets Usdaw members work for including Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury, Asda, Aldi, M&S and Waitrose. Therefore support from UK workers in retail and distribution is an important part of fighting for decent working conditions within the retail industry and its supply chains.

Please show your solidarity with these workers by taking a ‘solidarity selfie’ and using the hashtag #BoycottDriscollsContinua. Activist supporters have produced the following poster which can be used.

driscolls poster

Poster for ‘solidarity selfies’ with Driscolls workers in Mexico

Activist 70

Issue 70 of the Activist – includes articles on Tesco pay deal, retail workers from across Europe meet and the NSSN TUC Congress 2017 fringe meeting.

Categories: The Activist Tags: , ,

Tesco’s 10% pay increase accompanied by cuts and job losses

July 14, 2017 1 comment

The headline figure in the result of the latest Tesco pay negotiations is a pay rise of 10.57% to £8.42, in Tesco’s own words its “biggest ever pay award”. And it is far higher than the pay rises of 2% or less that I received when I used to work for Tesco.

Scott Jones, Usdaw East London C026 branch chair (personal capacity)

But in the detail below the headlines it’s revealed that this rise will take place over the course of the next two years, straight away meaning that the increase is actually just over 5% a year. And this increase comes after small or no increases in the last couple of years.

Another blow will be the decrease in Sunday and bank holiday pay from time and a half to time and a quarter, which in Usdaw’s Network magazine for August is flippantly brushed aside with the justification that most companies already pay a flat rate for bank holiday working. And inflation is currently running at around 3%.

So while a pay increase of 5% is welcome, against a backdrop of cuts in terms and conditions, now and previously, this is merely playing catch-up. And while Usdaw members will have different opinions over the pay deal, the fact that yet again Tesco workers don’t get a vote on it means there is no accountability.

And as one Tesco worker commented to me, with the estimated 1,100 potential job losses at its call centre in Cardiff and possibly more at head office, Tesco is moving money around the company as opposed to making a large investment in this offer. An investment it could afford to do, with a rise in operating profit and a £3.7 billion takeover of cash-and-carry group Booker on the cards.

There is no excuse to close the call centre in Cardiff which will be devastating for those 1,100 workers and the local area. Usdaw and the Welsh government should put as much pressure on Tesco as possible. The union in particular should ballot for strike action over this and future attacks on terms and conditions.

The Mandate trade union in Ireland brought Tesco workers out on strike earlier this year after Tesco tried to change contracts and force workers to take redundancy.

Their strike, which was extended and spread with brilliant picket lines throughout the dispute, was an inspiration to workers here and shows what’s possible. Usdaw should look to this as an example in the fight to save jobs, terms and conditions and to secure a £10 an hour real living wage for all.