Socialist Party
| Print

13 December 2017

Retail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

Iain Dalton, vice-chair, Usdaw Leeds private trade branch (personal capacity)

Toys R Us plans to close a third of its stores. Asda wants to downgrade hundreds of shopfloor supervisors. Britain's largest tobacco distributor Palmer & Harvey has gone into administration.

These recent announcements will ring alarm bells for retail workers worried for their futures amid signs that consumer spending in general is slowing down.

The closure of at least 26 Toys R Us outlets threatens 800 jobs. Asda's pay cut would affect 842 'section leaders'. And the administrators have already made 2,500 Palmer & Harvey staff redundant, with a further 900 threatened.

The Toys R Us closures are partly due to large store sizes becoming less competitive after the rise of online shopping. But both Toys R Us and Palmer & Harvey have had problems with suppliers.

The tobacco distributor struggled to receive payments in time to pay down debt obligations. And some of the toy shop's suppliers were unable to get 'credit insurance' for providing goods on account.

Consumer spending fell 2% this October compared to last, according to Visa. That's the fifth monthly drop in the last six months, and included a 5% drop in high street spending. This reduced income will affect most those companies which are heavily indebted.

Like the run-up to last year's collapse of department store BHS, a management buyout of Palmer & Harvey left a wake of suspicious dealings. The 2008 takeover was leveraged with debt which reached a net amount of 48.6 million in April 2016.

Yet since the buyout, the Guardian estimates there has been around 70 million in shareholder payouts. Former chairman Christoper Etherington and his wife will have received about 2.5 million in dividends since 2009 alone.

Usdaw

The BHS collapse meant the loss of a high street icon, and the jobs of many members of retail and distribution union Usdaw. So the 2017 Usdaw conference passed a resolution to call on the government to bring companies in a similar situation into public ownership.

The union has made two statements on Palmer & Harvey on its website so far. But nowhere in either does it call for nationalisation. Instead the administrator, financial services giant PwC, has been allowed to sack 2,500 workers unanswered.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26609




Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

triangle20 Jul Tory crisis deepens - demand a general election now!

triangle18 Jul 'Vote Leave' fined: For a workers' Brexit

triangle17 Jul Victory for Swansea postal workers against management victimisation

triangle16 Jul 250,000-strong human tide sweeps London against visit of bigoted...

triangle16 Jul Confronting the FLA pro-Trump demo - build a workers movement to...

triangle13 Jul School students protest and walk out against Trump

triangle11 Jul NSSN conference 2018: Mood for fighting action and coordination

More ...

WHAT'S ON

triangle24 Jul Liverpool Socialist Party: The Prague Spring 1968, 50 years on

triangle24 Jul London Young Socialists: Fight Trumpism, Fight Racism

triangle24 Jul Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Is globalisation working?

triangle24 Jul Cardiff West Socialist Party: A day in the life of a retail worker

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Our 2015 election manifesto

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999