USDAW lets down Tesco members

Published on: Wed, 11/02/2015 - 11:31

Bill Holmes

Tesco workers in stores facing closure can take little solace or hope from the efforts of their biggest union.

USDAW, which represents retail workers and has a sweetheart deal with the retailer, has said nothing to challenge Tesco's plans to close 43 stores around the UK.

Although in its statements it has promised to keep “job losses to a minimum” and see as many workers as possible redeployed, it has stopped far short of condemning the closures or redundancies.

It is important to remember why Tesco has taken this step.

It is not because it has huge losses mounting up, nor even a one-off big

Tesco takes it out on workers

Published on: Wed, 14/01/2015 - 10:33

Bill Holmes

News that supermarket giant Tesco is to close forty-three of its UK stores will come as a devastating blow for the staff in the affected shops when the locations are revealed.

The announcement that the retailer will not be proceeding with 49 other planned stores will also be badly received by communities who were hoping to get the construction and in-shop jobs to help them survive at a time when inflation is outstripping wage increases.

Tesco is not doing badly by ordinary measures of success. The announcement came because the overall group’s business profits will “not exceed” £1.4 billion,

Drivers break from USDAW

Published on: Wed, 19/12/2012 - 14:14

A retail distribution driver spoke to us about recent moves by workers to break from the retail union USDAW and join Unite. AWL has criticised USDAW's role as a collaborationist and sell-out union in the retail sector. However, we do not have a formal policy of advocating or supporting breakaways from majority/recognised unions, and relate to particular cases on an individual basis. We publish this report for information.

Members of USDAW at the Sainsbury's distribution centre in Sherburn-in-Elmet, Leeds (operated by Wincanton), have rebelled by defecting to another union - Unite.

In less than

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 18/04/2012 - 12:31

Workers at BMW’s Oxford plant have voted by 97% to oppose management’s latest pay offer.

The consultative ballot, which was conducted by the Unite union, polled 2,000 employees.

The pay deal included a basic increase of 2.21%, of which nearly 2% was contingent on working extra hours. Since the ballot, BMW bosses have offered further talks. While “welcoming” the talks, Unite has said it will press on with plans to move to a full ballot for industrial action to win a better deal.

Unite officer Roger Maddison said: “There are more strings to this deal than a puppet show and the workers at BMW

USDAW calls off Primark strike

Published on: Tue, 20/03/2012 - 12:06

A strike by shop-floor staff at Northern Irish branches of discount clothing retailer Primark on Friday 16 March was called off after their union USDAW received “an eleventh-hour offer” from Primark bosses to resolve a pay dispute.

The offer would increase the hourly rate of pay for shop-floor workers at Primark from the current £6.84 an hour to £7.14 an hour from April this year. USDAW will now put the offer to ballot.

The offer represents significant movement from Primark’s previous imposition of a two-year pay freeze, which workers voted by 88% to strike against. However, USDAW’s decision

Unilever workers prepared to take further action

Published on: Wed, 25/01/2012 - 15:56

Workers at food and cleaning products manufacturer Unilever have begun an 11-day programme of rolling strike action at sites across the UK in an attempt to defeat bosses’ plans to scrap their final-salary pension schemes. It is the joint strategy of the three unions involved: Unite, USDAW and the GMB.

The plan is a bold move from workers at a company that had never seen strike action until December 2011.

Bob Sutton from Merseyside AWL reports on his visit to a local picket line:

“The picket on the production side of the Unilever plant at Port Sunlight [Merseyside] was around 25 strong on the

Unilever strike over pensions

Published on: Wed, 14/12/2011 - 13:56

Unilever workers struck for a day on Friday 9 December as part of their battle to defend their pensions.

Members of the Unite, GMB and USDAW unions took action, with the strike being reported solid in most Unilever facilities.

Unite said that no engineer had gone to work at Unilever’s Burton site, and USDAW reported the strike 100% solid at the Port Sunlight research and development facility.

According to workers, management had been bullying and intimidating people into going to work, including by holding meetings threatening people with losing their jobs, particularly construction workers

Unilever workers take pensions fight to private sector

Published on: Thu, 01/12/2011 - 13:50

A strike by thousands of workers at Unilever (which manufactures well-known food products including Marmite and other household goods) could be the first major set-piece pensions battle in the private sector, after Unite, GMB and USDAW all returned massive majorities for strike action.

Workers are attempting to prevent the abolition of their final-salary pension schemes, for both new and existing members. Existing scheme members will retain accrued benefits, but will not receive their full final-salary pensions and will instead be transferred onto career-average pensions on 1 January 2012.

March? Good. But it’s only a start

Published on: Fri, 29/05/2009 - 10:34

Daniel Randall

There were some definite positives to the 16 May “March for Jobs” organised by Unite in central Birmingham.

The turnout — up to 8,000 people, mostly rank-and-file workers — was bigger than many marchers were expecting. Unite seeming to have done a decent job of mobilising in workplaces. There were contingents from the Longbridge plant in Birmingham, as well as from steelworkers in Teesside, Visteon workers and Latin American cleaners from London. Other unions, most notably Unison, were also visibly present.

The very fact that the demonstration took place at all is encouraging. A contrast to

TU News in brief

Published on: Fri, 26/09/2008 - 11:28

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: The decision by members of Unison’s Local Government National Joint Council to agree to binding arbitration effectively brings this year’s pay dispute to an end. It is a failure for the union and the leftists who lead the sector and will be a bitter disappointment to the members who supported action but wanted a better deal.

Arbitration is unlikely to lead to any offer that meets the union’s demands (6%) and may actually include small victories for the bosses — further increases in productivity for perhaps one half of a percentage point increase in this year’s offer. All this

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