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Usdaw - Need for change at the top
THE BROAD Left group in the shop and retail workers' union USDAW has decided to back Terry Savage as their candidate for president of the union, which will be contested later this year.
The decision was taken by the Broad Left at the annual conference of USDAW. Terry is a former national executive member and a former national officer of the union.
There is an urgent need for change at the top of the union. The current leadership has taken it to the far right of the union movement. They have done deals with big retail employers like Tesco that have been detrimental to USDAW members' interests. And, although there has been a huge expansion of the numbers working in retail, USDAW has only made a marginal membership gain in the last year.
The conference was turned into a pre-election rally for the Labour Party with union officials continuously trying to exhort USDAW members to not only vote but to campaign for Labour. They told everyone what a wonderful deal they were getting off the government and that they had to be very afraid of the prospect of 'Hatchet Howard' getting into 10 Downing Street.
USDAW members may not want to see the Tories elected but they will also be questioning, given the low pay and dreadful conditions they suffer, what the Labour government and their union are doing for them.
There is undoubtedly a layer of conference delegates fed up with hearing about doing deals with 'progressive employers' and how wonderful the Labour government is supposed to be and are looking for an alternative. This was shown by 30 copies of the socialist being sold in ten minutes before the start of the first conference session.
In The Socialist 28 April 2005: