USDAW

March? Good. But it’s only a start

Author: 

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.

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.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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TU News in brief

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.

Round of short TU news articles

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The Unions after Bournemouth

Even in 2005, Tony Blair’s Labour must have seemed to most voters at least marginally less illiberal and less rigidly attached to inequality than the Tory party of the old Thatcher minister Michael Howard.

But what about now? Younger people, looking at the parties afresh, have nothing presented to them which makes Labour seem even demagogically more on the side of the “common people” than the Tories. Sometimes, indeed, the opposite.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Industrial News

Terminal 5 strikes

TGWU, GMB and UCATT members building Heathrow’s Terminal 5 struck on Friday 20 and Monday 23 January in their battle over bonuses with contractor Laing O’Rourke — despite claims in the bosses’ press that the action was being called off following a settlement. The strikers organised picket lines at half a dozen strategic locations in the environs of the airport.

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Taming Tesco

Tesco is not a popular company. Not popular with its rivals, who envy its dominance of the grocery trade and are leading a campaign to slow down its expansion and stop its below-cost pricing of certain goods.

Not popular with small farmers, who feel ripped off by the company. Not popular with people who have lost Post Offices and other small shops as Tesco’s supermarket building programme transforms Britain’s high streets.

It is sometimes not even popular with its customers, when they find the promise of cheap food does not hold good beyond a small number of items.

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Tesco Workers Fight Back

At the session on partnership Mick Duncan of the T&G described how British bosses today feel they can get away with super-exploitation and this makes the quietism of trade unions today — which goes under the heading of “partnership” so dangerous. USDAW members from Tesco described their experience of “partnership” — it is not good… The Tesco “partnership” deal has been in place for eight years. At first 70 reps were involved in negotiating the wage deal. Then, after those reps refused to acquiesce to a pay deal, the negotiating team shrunk to four.

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USDAW-Tesco sick pay deal

Giving away workers' rights

By Mark Sandell

The bosses have kicked off the holiday season with an offensive against sick workers. The bosses' union the CBI have released a report claiming that 15% of the sick days taken by workers are not authentic. The fact that the number of sick days hase been falling for five years and only rose this year was ignored. Also ignored was the shocking fact that British workers work the longest hours in western Europe.

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USDAW lets down Tesco members

Author: 

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.

USDAW should be joining its members in opposing any job cuts but instead it is bowing to its own interests.

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Tesco takes it out on workers

Author: 

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.

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.

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