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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 June 2006

Tesco goes west - with non-union job ads

TESCO HAS given its chief executive, Sir Terry Leahy, a pay rise of almost 25%. He took away almost 4 million in salary, bonus and other benefits for the year to 25 February, against 3.2 million the year before. Leahy was also awarded 1.28 million shares.

Tesco, Britain's biggest supermarket group and the world's largest grocer, recently unveiled record full-year profits of nearly 2.3 billion. That's over 260,000 every hour.

Tesco now has plans to expand into the USA. It apparently wants to open a chain of small stores in Los Angeles and Phoenix. But the Financial Times reported last week that advertisements for managers of its new US stores network included the requirement for "maintaining non-union status and union avoidance activities." When questioned by the FT, the non-union language was removed from the advertisements.

The US shopworkers' union UFCW have been fighting bitter battles against non-union employers like Wal-Mart in southern California. They also organised a four-month long strike against cuts in working conditions at other big supermarket chains.

In the UK, Tesco has had a 'partnership' agreement with USDAW since 1998. More than 100,000 Tesco workers are members of the union. But these moves by the company in the USA show how quickly a 'partnership' can turn into a dictatorship.

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In The Socialist 1 June 2006:


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"We're seeing the Americanisation of the NHS"


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PCS conference: The record of a campaigning union

Drivers strike over tax bills

Tesco goes west - with non-union job ads


 

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