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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 February 2009

Usdaw presidential election: The campaign they tried to hide

With the votes now counted, we can confirm that Socialist Party member Robbie Segal got a very respectable 10,000 members' votes for the position of president of Usdaw. That was half of the votes cast for the winning candidate in the fourth biggest union in the country!

Alex Gounelas

Robbie was also reelected onto the executive council (EC) with nearly 500 more votes than the next person and despite a dramatic increase in the number of members standing for election in the south.

With a turnout of 9% and a muted campaign overall to say the least, it is hardly surprising that the incumbent president, the New Labourite Jeff Broome, got re-elected. He had the entire union machinery backing him. It is disgraceful that the election was hardly mentioned to the majority of members. No debates were allowed and the only available official election material for Robbie was the ballot paper itself.

10,000 leaflets were distributed by Socialist Party members and others on the left in Usdaw, getting an overwhelmingly supportive response.

Robbie stood for president following her 40% vote in the general secretary election in 2008. She has been standing on a platform of opposing any job losses in the retail sector and was the only person on the EC to raise the demand for nationalisation of Woolworths.

While she was issuing press releases and contacting workers about the need to demand the companies open their books and show us where the money has gone, the Usdaw leaders were falling over themselves to take part in debates and interviews, arguing that nothing could be done.

Robbie's demands have been focusing on the urgent need for Usdaw to give retail workers a strategy to fight the barrage of job losses and attacks on terms and conditions. Retail is one of the main industries in the firing line, bearing a large part of the brunt of the economic crisis.

Robbie pledged to launch a campaign to raise the minimum wage to 8 an hour from age 16 to retirement, which got an enthusiastic response from members struggling to make ends meet.

Robbie says: "What shopworkers need isn't collaboration with New Labour and the bosses but a strong democratic fighting leadership. I will continue the struggle and now with a stronger left network of activists behind me, we are heading for our most successful ADM [conference] for a long time. The voice of the members won't fall on deaf ears for much longer."

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In The Socialist 18 February 2009:

Fight back now to stop job cuts

Anger as jobs slashed with an hour's notice

Car workers' jobs slaughter - begin the fightback!

Defend every job on the tube

Construction workers protest: Staythorpe power station

Isle of Grain picket

Meeting on Lindsey oil refinery dispute: Workers strike back

Why the bosses don't want an organised workforce


Socialist Students

Stop fees

Students protest against attacks on Gaza

'Books not Bombs' at Nottingham

Concessions won at Queen Mary university


Socialist Party editorial

New Labour in blind panic

Regulators resign over financial meltdown


Sport

London Olympics battered by economic crisis


Socialist Party campaigns

Yahya must stay Defend Saudi Arabian trade unionist from deportation

Coventry: Hands off our youth services!

Political vendetta against Tommy Sheridan

Wirral cuts: Fighting 'cultural terrorism'

Fast news


Socialist Party feature

Defend the welfare state


International socialist news and analysis

Israel: Election results indicate a deepening political crisis

Costa Rica: Urgent solidarity action for unionists


Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Manchester Unison elections: Left candidates well supported

Usdaw presidential election: The campaign they tried to hide

Usdaw Activist public meeting

Fight the Unison witch-hunt

Launch of new broad left for Unite


 

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