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the Activist

Issue 32 ADM Special

the Activist Issue 32 ADM Special Bulletin of Socialist Party members in USDAW needs a fighting

Bulletin of Socialist Party members in

USDAW needs a fighting leadership to defend members from attacks

From workfare to Sunday trading hours to shop closures and redundancies, issues affecting the retail sector have featured prominently in the national news over the last few months. From Sunday 22 nd to Wednesday 25 th April, USDAW reps will meet in Blackpool at the union’s Annual Delegate Meeting to discuss these and other issues.

The key discussions this year will be around the ever increasing attacks on the conditions of retail workers. The now widespread use of flexi-hours contracts which only contract workers to a small number of guaranteed hours which they qualify for holiday pay, sickness pay and other benefits, and are forced to beg for extra hours to make ends meet. Yet this is now being undermined by the use of workfare, where job seekers are required to work for free for several weeks for major retail companies. USDAW has correctly opposed such schemes and demanded the rate for the job, but has failed to link up with the hundreds and thousands of young people that have taken to the streets in protest, many of whom could be future retail workers.

The recent decision by the Low Pay Commission (LPC), which USDAW General Secretary John Hannett sits upon, to freeze the minimum wage for those under 21 is an absolute disgrace and USDAW should be mounting a serious campaign against this. Following USDAW’s success in abolishing youth rates in Morrisons, Tesco and the Co-op we should be pushing for the elimination of such rates altogether. The justification of the LPC for its measures, that it would make younger workers more competitive, will mean older workers being undercut by such rates. The real problem is the lack of jobs for young people with over 1m on the scrap heap of the dole.

The recent budget saw the introduction of a proposal to remove Sunday trading restrictions for the duration of the Olympics and Para-Olympics. USDAW reps and members are overwhelmingly opposed to any changes on several grounds including the difficulties in using public transport to get to work as well as being the only day you are guaranteed to have the evening free. A major campaign must be mounted to resist this and any other encroachments.

To find out more about the Socialist opposition to the inaction of the current USDAW leadership, subscribe to the Activist for free at usdawactivist@gmail.com

to the Activist for free at usdawactivist@gmail.com The battle against workfare isn’t over yet. USDAW needs

The battle against workfare isn’t over yet. USDAW needs to link up with young people angry against the imposition of work-for-your dole schemes on them.

the imposition of work-for-your dole schemes on them. 6th annual conference takes place on Saturday 9th

6th annual conference takes place on Saturday 9th June, Friends Meeting House, Euston Rd, London - 11am-4pm Speakers include:

Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary; Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary; and a rank and file construction electrician See www.shopstewards.net for info

Find out more: usdawactivist.wordpress.com / usdawactivist@gmail.com / Facebook: ‘Usdaw Activist’

Bulletin of Socialist Party members in USDAW
Bulletin of Socialist Party members in USDAW
Bulletin of Socialist Party members in USDAW

For a Young Retail Workers’ Charter

The Activist has been advocating an organising campaign to recruit young workers into the trade unions. There are over one million under 26 years old working in retail and another one million languish on the dole. It is time to act.

The long awaited campaign to recruit young workers into our ranks is welcome. Recently we asked our youth supporters for ideas to bring young workers into our ranks, below are some of their ideas:

An under 26 Young Workers conference with the right to summit propositions to ADM.

A youth seat on the Executive Council

A campaign to turn the minimum wage into a living wage

Abolish lower youth rates

Fight for the reintroduction of EMA

Abolish all university fees

Oppose zero hour contracts

Against workfare and all slave labour schemes

Public ownership of the major retail companies

For a 35 hour week with no loss of pay

Repeal anti-trade union legislation

Build accommodation suitable for young people

Cap rent not benefits

We will be devoting a future issue of the Activist to a Young Retail Workers’ Charter and if you have any suggestions then please contacts us.

and if you have any suggestions then please contacts us. USDAW young members should link up

USDAW young members should link up with campaigns such as Youth Fight for Jobs as youth networks in PCS, RMT, CWU and other unions have done.

Fight Against the Cuts - Vote TUSC

In the spring issue of Arena, John Hannett states we, ‘encourage our members to join us in our involvement in politics and to make sure our concerns are voiced in the strongest possible terms.’ Of course Hannett wants us to be involved with New Labour. Today many workers are asking, ‘what is the difference between the Labour party and the Con-Dem government?’

Later, there appears a piece on the Labour party and along the edge is a list of some of the crimes the millionaire’s government is implementing against working people. But the Labour controlled councils are doing the Tories’ cuts programme for them. Labour leaders talk about how they would introduce cuts, A cut is still a cut whatever party does it. There is no difference between the three main parties, just a difference between the level of the cuts. We have had enough with the cuts’ parties, including the Labour party.

Therefore, anti cuts campaigners and socialists have come to together to form the TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition). Frustrated with the lack of fight from the labour leaders, three trade union general secretaries have declared there support for TUSC. Check out TUSC www.tusc.org.uk

A message from Robbie Segal

Robbie wishes all the delegates to the 2012 ADM her best wishes. She says that she regrets that she cannot be with them this year as her health as deteriorated and finds it difficult to travel.

She comments, "I believe that there is more to leadership than just highlighting serious issues facing our members on a daily basis. It is necessary to take the fight to our members on the shop floor and build campaigns to show our full strength to the bosses.

“The stinking rich are wriggling out of having their donations capped. If these people paid their proper tax we could have back our universal benefits not charity. Better still decent wages so that we don't need charity.

“They use every means at their disposal to defend their wealth. We should use our power to create a better society. I believe that society should be based on public ownership and a fair distribution of wealth - a Socialist society."

Read Robbie’s new pamphlet A Fighting Programme for Usdaw. Available from seller of the Socialist or contact Socialist Books 020 8988 8789.

Find out more: usdawactivist.wordpress.com / usdawactivist@gmail.com / Facebook: ‘Usdaw Activist’