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Posts Tagged ‘pay’

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.

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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: , ,

Co-op Pay Offer: Too Good to be True?

March 16, 2015 3 comments

“Usdaw negotiates an 8.5% pay increase for 60,000 Co-op retail staff” proudy said the press release of March 10th on the Usdaw website. In a period of low or no pay rises for many workers, such a significant rise, from £6.73 an hour to £7.30 on basic pay (an extra £1,200 a year for a full time worker), is something that many Co-op workers and reps will welcome.

Even with the pay rise, basic pay rates will be less than the ‘living wage’ set by academics at Loughborough University, and which ADM agreed in 2013 should be basis from which our pay claims should start, let alone the £10 an hour unanimously supported at the 2014 Trades Unions Congress.

Yet the Usdaw website also says of the deal “The package includes proposals to simplify existing reward practices, improve consistency and better align the Co-op to market practices among major food retailers.” What this cryptic language actually means is that the Co-op are taking away current terms which mean that sick pay is paid from day one of absence, rather than after 3 days off in other retailers. It also means that bank holidays are now to be treated as normal working days.

Whilst the sick pay changes affect only a minority of the staff, these are generally members with much longer service who, due to age, are statistically more likely to be more regularly off sick. Whilst the changes are being justified by saying 3 day waiting is now the supermarket standard, surely our negotiators should be trying to extend paid sick pay from day one rather than weakening it?

Some staff will understandably be grateful of a decent pay rise, but our terms and conditions should not be traded away so lightly by the union’s negotiators. Therefore the Activist recommends a no vote in the upcoming ballot.

Categories: Updates Tags: , , ,

Activist 54: TUC Demo 2014 Special

October 17, 2014 1 comment

Includes articles on ‘We Need a Payrise Now – We Can’t Wait Until 2020’ and Usdaw EC & Presidential elections

Activist 52

July 2, 2014 4 comments

Special issue on the Tesco Pay award 2014

Categories: The Activist Tags: , ,

Activist 44

Includes articles on working at Primark, Doncaster ex-Tesco drivers protest, Amazon strike in Germany, Tesco pay deal, the new AO’s, the general strike and more

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