Posts Tagged ‘Morrisons’

Activist 88: Coronavirus special 6

Coronavirus special 6. Includes articles on opposing extension of retail Sunday trading, the fight to defend jobs in Debenhams in Ireland and the UK and report of a Usdaw branch meeting held online.

Activist 87: Coronavirus special 5

Coronavirus special 5. Includes editorial on the situation facing retail workers under Coronavirus, and articles on Workers’ Memorial Day, ADM & Union Democracy plus views from the shopfloor in B&M Bargains and Sainsbury’s

Activist 82

December 4, 2019 Leave a comment

Features articles on the 2019 UK General Election, Morrisons pay deal and how technology is used to exploit warehouse workers

Vote No to the Morrisons’ Pay Deal

May 12, 2019 1 comment

Heading into British summertime sees the latest controversial pay deal in the retail sector. The latest Morrisons pay deal is amid controversy and arguably caused more headaches for rank and file shop stewards than the 2016 Pay Deal which saw the removal of Sunday premiums.

There is a general feeling among reps along the front line, that this could be the most controversial and talked about pay deal among the Morrisons membership of the past twenty years.

So why so much unrest?

Perhaps it is Morrisons clear attempts to undermine Usdaw. So was the introduction of the new sevice reward scheme (commonly known as the Christmas bonus) and removal of the old one part of the pay deal? Or as the company claim was going to happen anyway so the deal is simply for the 30 pence increase to the base rate (taking it up to £9 per hour).

What is clear is that Morrisons gift for timing is not only clearly undermining the recognised trade union, but it has angered long serving Usdaw members within Morrisons.

The equal frustration is over the clear lack of strong statements from the National negotiating team of reps, headed up by Usdaw’s National Officer Joanne McGuinness. All reps have simply been told, the union do not support nor recommend refusing the pay deal. We are simply told this is the best deal that could be reached.

But this poses questions as well. If this deal were too be rejected, will members be balloted for industrial action? Will it go to arbitration?

Arbitration would be far from ideal. Given the lack of tradition of strike action in UK retail, then serious preparations would need to be made to mobilise the workforce if strike action was necessary to win a decent pay offer.

What is clear that Usdaw needs to make bigger noises to involve the membership in important pay deals. The Morrisons current pay deal presents the ideal opportunity to show strength to our membership before the likes of Tesco’s, Coop and Sainsbury’s follow suit and erode more terms and conditions. Like many reps up and down the country I will be urging my members to reject this offer.

A Broad Left member in Morrisons

Categories: The Activist Tags: ,

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 59

January 28, 2016 1 comment

Includes articles on fighting Sunday trading deregulation, Premium Payments, Broad Left Resurgence, Usdaw Backs Young Blairites, Mailbag

Vote No to the Morrisons Pay Offer – Demand a Real Living Wage AND Premium Payments!

October 19, 2015 1 comment

Below a Morrisons USDAW rep gives their personal take on the current pay offer which USDAW is recommending. The Activist believes USDAW members in Morrisons should reject the pay offer and demand that the negotiating committee fight to retain premium payments. Given that companies are due to be forced by the government’s new ‘living wage’ to pay £7.20 an hour  to over 25s (rising to £9) it is entirely possible that over the next few years pay could again be restrained like over the past period with the pay rate hovering slightly above the minimum wage once more. This is why the Activist believes that USDAW should actively support and campaign for the TUC’s demand of a minimum wage for all of £10 an hour.

Retail has historically been low paid. So on the surface USDAW negotiating Morrison’s staff a wage increase from the basic rate of £6.83 to the dizzying heights of £8.20 taking them over the so called living wage, seems like a more than fair deal. The company are paying a good wage, the staff are happier, USDAW has negotiated a good deal for its members…

That is about as much coverage if any that you will hear about in mainstream media. The reality is a stark double edged sword. The new wage deal sees the end of the company’s Sunday premium currently paid at time and a half, quite ironic when USDAW ‘The Campaigning Union’ who organise predominately in the retail sector, are fighting the governments propositions to deregulate Sunday Trading, yet are trading away Morrison’s Sunday premium. Are they not in fact preparing for it becoming a normal working day? Or in fact accepting it already is one?

The Sunday premium isn’t where it ends. Overtime, late and early premiums are being scrapped. Forklift drivers and café cooks will see there supplements disappear. People who started with the company after December 2013 will only receive service rewards at 5 year intervals, although people who have worked for the company since before that date won’t be effected and still receive it every year (for people who started work prior to December 2013, they have to work 5 years before they can claim their first service reward). Finally but my no means the smallest in this wage offer, paid breaks will disappear taking the working week down to 36.5 hours (39 hours minus paid breaks).

The concerns of many rank and file USDAW reps within Morrison’s (who don’t negotiate pay, apart from a select committee who sit with the National Officer) is that Terms and Conditions are being traded away for a higher rate of pay, and given this governments appalling attacks on working tax credits and cuts to peoples benefits are the members realistically going to be any better off? Many USDAW members in Morrison’s are part time student workers, some of whom only work a Sunday and its difficult to see how they won’t be impacted financially. Further irony again since USDAW has always proudly informed its members how it campaigned to abolish youth rates in Tesco many years ago.

Of course for some people who don’t work late, early, or Sundays its understandable why they might be excited about the offer. But how long before they are expected to work late, early and on Sundays? Without premiums and with no real right to refuse. What you essentially have or are going to get is a divided workforce. With a natural high turnover of staff, and a general lack of understanding regarding trade unionism and solidarity anyway, retail is difficult to organise in. Now it will be even more difficult for reps to organise and very unlikely to attract non members within Morrison’s.

So what exactly are USDAW doing about all this? Well they recommend the members accept the company’s offer when casting there vote in the pay ballot.

But why? Many members are asking. Surely a trade union fights to strengthen their members terms and conditions? And doesn’t trade them away for the sake of a pay rise? It is not difficult to understand members or even non members apathy towards the union when you look deeply into what is being offered, and a perceived lack of any sort of a challenge from USDAW officials, all they seem to be doing is reminding reps to recruit new members. Perhaps USDAW needs to remind itself that recruitment is only part of organising, and they are unlikely to recruit new members or organise the ones they have if they keep trading away terms and conditions without so much as a fight, Who’s next Tesco? Sainsbury’s? Where’s your next new member coming from? Because you will more than likely hear the old question, what is the Union going to do for me? And with deals like this even the most dedicated reps and trade unionists are struggling to answer that one.

Categories: Updates Tags: , ,

Activist 47

October 27, 2013 3 comments

Includes articles on zero hour contracts, Morrisons apprenticeship scandal, Is Workfare coming to Morrisons?, NSSN lobby of TUC Congress 2013, comment on Usdaw cost of living survey amongst young members, letters and more

Activist 43: Post-ADM Special

May 9, 2013 1 comment

Includes reports from ADM as well as articles on the minimum wage and Morrisons job cuts.

Activist 42: ADM 2013 Special

April 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Includes articles on fighting back against cuts and austerity, looks at some of the propositions on the ADM interim agenda and an article on the recent TUSC trade union forum