Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/888/22202
Cuts to premiums mean no 'rise' in store for Tesco workers
A Tesco worker
I almost laughed when I was told by my manager that I was getting a pay rise. From July I will be paid 23p more an hour. Great, what's not to like?
But I almost laughed because I'd already seen page four of the leaflet we were given which explains the 'changes to premiums', the changes being cuts. Cuts to Sunday, overtime and night working premiums - all of which I rely on the make my pay packet resemble a living one.
I start work at 5am, meaning at the moment I get £2.18 on top of my hourly rate for the first hour of my shift each day. I work Sundays so get time-and-a-half for that and the same rate when I do overtime which is pretty often.
All this is being cut (as reported in last week's issue) meaning that I won't be getting a pay 'rise' at all.
That's why I almost laughed. I didn't though because there is nothing funny about struggling to make ends meet. And while I'm not getting a rise, there are other people I work with, especially part-timers and night staff, who are getting a pay cut due to the loss of premiums!
I became a trade union rep to make the working lives of my colleagues better but I felt I was doing the opposite when breaking the news of the pay deal to them. I wish I could do more. I work on the back door and regularly talk to drivers and distribution workers who still have a vote on pay and have threatened taking industrial action.
I've also seen photos on Facebook of mass meetings in Ireland called by the Tesco workers' union there. This gives me confidence we can fight and I think Usdaw should do more to lead that fight, this is why I became a rep and why my members pay their subs.
In The Socialist 10 February 2016:
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