Picket line at Usdaw head office. Photo: GMBX39 branch
Picket line at Usdaw head office. Photo: GMBX39 branch

A Socialist Party member in Usdaw

Around 100 Usdaw ancillary and clerical staff, members of the GMB, took a first day of strike action on 30 September in a dispute over pay and hybrid working. As well as picketing Usdaw’s new head office on Salford Quay, pickets were also present outside the union’s offices in Cardiff and Glasgow.

Usdaw’s leadership is refusing to even discuss a plan for hybrid working as part of resolving the dispute, while saying that the £1.3 million they have unilaterally added to the pension fund brings their 3.5% pay offer to 11%.

Would Usdaw members accept this behaviour from one of our employers?

Most Usdaw members were on the front line during the pandemic, working in factories, distribution and retail. But there are members who work in administrative roles, for example, who could work from home. But Usdaw negotiators, arguing for our members to be entitled to work from home, will be hamstrung if companies can point to the union refusing our own staff the right to do that!

Likewise, we would be livid if an employer justified a below-inflation pay offer, by unilaterally investing money that could fund other benefits, without negotiating with us.

To make matters worse, in order for other sections of Usdaw staff to not have to cross picket lines outside offices, the union leadership announced at short notice that those  not on strike would work from home!

Instead of forcing Usdaw staff to strike to get their voices listened to, Usdaw’s leadership should agree to negotiations right away. In fact, the union should work with members to draw up a charter for home/hybrid working, and campaign on it, as well as making sure that arrangements for Usdaw staff at least meet those levels.

  • Further strike action takes place on 27 and 28 October. The strikers can be followed at @GMBX39 on twitter

For the first time in 15 years, there is a left challenge to the right-wing leadership of Usdaw. Socialist Party member Scott Jones is seeking nominations to stand for general secretary. He is standing as a fighting candidate, for a member-led union. 

  • Search ‘Scott for Usdaw GS’ on Facebook and Twitter, and email [email protected] for more information, including how to nominate.
  • All who want a fighting leadership of Usdaw are welcome to attend Scott’s campaign meeting on Zoom at 6.30pm 30 October. Meeting ID: 882 6361 5072