Archive

Posts Tagged ‘solidarity’

Stop and Shop workers strike in the US

stopandshop

Stop and Shop workers on strike

On the 11 April, workers in Stop and Shop across New England, which has around 31,000 employees, walked out to take long awaited strike action over a series of attacks by the company.

Iain Dalton, Usdaw Broad Left Chair

The attacks come in the form of the latest round of union contract (pay, terms and conditions) negotiations, where the company had attempted to cap shopfloor wages, hike healthcare costs by up to 500%, replace the current pension with an inferior 401k, remove a week’s paid holiday, eliminate time and a half payments on sundays and institute a wage cap for employees. All this whilst parent company Ahold Delhaize earned $2billion in profits in 2018!

As pointed out in the video message by Usdaw President Amy Murphy (see here – https://www.facebook.com/1549827718591114/posts/2253451768228702/), some of these attacks will sound familiar to Usdaw members as they are similar to what workers in many of the UK’s retail companies have faced in the era of austerity, our employers trying to improve their profits by squeezing our standard of living and working conditions.

Once again, the fantastic response by UFCW members turning out en masse outside their stores shows, like with Tesco and Lloyds Pharmacy strikes in Ireland and the Lidl strike in Belgium that retail workers can and will strike to defend and improve their conditions if a lead is given. As in other dispute, a key part of this has been building confidence of members to strike, by engaging with customers about the issues behind the dispute, including rallies outside stores.

However, as seen in online comments on union social media by Stop and Shop workers, there clearly has been some frustration by workers over how long it has taken from the strike ballot to start the action (around a month). Throughout the dispute the UFCW should be calling mass meetings of its members across the five branches involved to discuss out the strategy of how to win the strike. Electing a strike committee from such meetings, which could regularly report back on the progress of the dispute, could also help draw in members energised by the strike to play a more active role in winning the dispute and building the union going forward.

Wider support will be crucial to sustaining the strike to force the company to seriously negotiate. Organising mass rallies outside stores, but also hardship funds will help support workers in maintaining the strike and boost morale. Usdaw’s Executive Council to should contact the UFCW offering whatever help and support it can to ensure the strike defeats Stop and Shop management’s attacks.

Please sign the petition in support of their demands here – http://www.ufcw.org/supportstopandshopworkers
Like, share and send messages of support on their facebook page here – https://www.facebook.com/supportstopandshopworkers/

You can read updates about the dispute including an interview with a Stop and Shop worker from the Socialist Alternative website here – https://www.socialistalternative.org

Solidarity with Lloyd’s Pharmacy strikers in Ireland

ruth coppinger lloyds pharmacy strike

Solidarity TD and Socialist Party member Ruth Coppinger visiting Mandate picket line at Lloyds Pharmacy in her Dublin West constituency

Last Friday, around 200 workers at 29 Lloyd’s Pharmacy shops across Ireland took part in an hour’s strike action, the first strike action as part of an ongoing campaign to win union recognition and improvements in pay and conditions.

Their union, Mandate, now has a membership density of 30% across the company, with members in 2/3rds of stores in Ireland. Despite this management have refused to have serious negotiations with the union and have instead resorted to sending threatening letters to staff involved in the strikes.

The key points which Mandate members are seeking improvements around are

  • A fair pay increase
  • The introduction of incremental pay scales across grades
  • Improvements in annual leave entitlements and public holiday premiums
  • Greater security of working hours (eliminating zero-hour contracts)
  • The introduction of a sick pay scheme

Messages of support can be sent via visiting their campaign website – https://lloydsworkers.com/contact/

 

Solidarity with the Belgian Lidl Strike

 

lidl strike solidarity

Workers in Lidl in Belgium have been taking strike action since Tuesday against understaffing, with action growing across the country.

Reports from the company itself state that almost 50%, 147 our of 302 stores were closed on Friday 27th April.

Management has already conceded an extra 42 staffing hours per store for six months, but the strike is continuing as workers want the additional staffing to be permanent.

The strike wave is set to continue on Monday and we will carry further reports.

In the meantime we encourage all of our supporters to take solidarity selfies with the above poster and share on social media  and tag #lidl @UsdawActivist

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

IKEA workers: A tale of two labour movements

IKEA workers at Richmond Ikea store in Vancouver, Canada have been locked out for almost 14 months in a dispute over wage and benefits. The company wants to implement a two-tier wage system (a system workers struck successfully to get rid of in 2006) as well as force family workers to work 24 hours instead of 20 before claiming workplace benefits. This is despite the company setting a worldwide profits record in 2013.

The threat of having to work extra hours is especially galling as only 110 of the 350 strong workforce actually have guaranteed hours. In the two weeks running up to the strike only 13 out of 32 cashiers had shifts!

Initially the workers, members of the Teamsters union, planned a 72-hour strike against this, but have been locked out since May 13th 2013. Although 36 workers have crossed the picket line (after IKEA offered extra payments to do so – an act that the BC Labour Relations Board has found illegal), around 300 remain out, manning 24-hour pickets. The strike has shut the children’s play area, restaurant and reduced the stores opening hours. To escalate the action, a call has gone out to boycott IKEA stores. The Richmond store is one of only 12 across the country, with only one other store unionised.

In contrast, IKEA in the US has just announced a rise in its minimum wage of 17%, from $9.17 an hour to $10.76 starting January 1st 2015, which will benefit around 50% of its workforce across 38 stores. In a statement the company’s acting President says that they won’t raise prices, cut staff or stop hiring, they will absorb the pay rise from the company’s profits. IKEA’s only factory in the US, in Virginia, voted to unionise in the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers 3 years ago, followed a year later by its Maryland distribution centre.

The difference in the fate of IKEA in the two countries is striking, but comes down one crucial factor – the huge movement that has developed fighting for $15 an hour across the US, from striking fast food and retail workers to the election of Kshama Sawant in Seattle and the pushing through of the city wide wage rise there. As well as building and taking industrial action in defence of our interests, we have to build links in solidarity with other movements and ultimately, our own political representatives to give voice to our interests and demands.

Visit the locked out workers facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/IKEA-Lockout/519299924818132

Categories: Updates Tags: , , , ,