Socialist Party fringe meeting at Usdaw AGM. Photo: Usdaw Activist
Socialist Party fringe meeting at Usdaw AGM. Photo: Usdaw Activist

Socialist Party members at Usdaw ADM

At the time of writing, shop workers’ union Usdaw’s Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM) is halfway through proceedings and already a number of propositions have been heard taking up a range of issues.

Amy Murphy, Socialist Party member and former Usdaw president, successfully moved a proposition committing the National Executive Committee (NEC) and national officers to negotiate pay uplifts taking account of the Retail Price Index (RPI) to ensure wages keep pace with inflation. Speaking to the proposition, Amy said: “We cannot rely on the companies we negotiate with to do this [uplift pay] out of the goodness of their hearts.”

It is clear from the number of first-time delegates and issues raised like scrapping no-strike clauses in workplace agreements that members are looking for a lead in the fight to win these pay rises and other demands. Yet, the union leadership invited the CEO of the British Retail Consortium, an organisation of retail bosses, as guest speaker!

Kieron Murphy moved a proposition which passed calling for the outlawing of fire and rehire which has impacted Usdaw members. Similarly, Ryan Aldred spoke on a proposition which calls on a Labour government in Westminster to urgently reform trade union rights, strengthened by an amendment by his Plymouth and District General branch demanding an incoming Labour government repeal the 2016 (anti-) Trade Union Act.

Iain Dalton, newly elected secretary of the Usdaw Broad Left, successfully moved a proposition calling on the executive to campaign for nationalisation of water companies. Iain highlighted the 3 billion litres lost each year to leaks and prolific sewage dumping, polluting rivers and beaches while shareholders have hoovered up £2 billion in dividends a year since privatisation began.

There are still plenty of propositions and debates to be had, including one on restoring the Labour whip to Jeremy Corbyn which the executive is opposing. The Socialist Party is calling for Jeremy Corbyn to stand as part of a trade union-backed workers’ list at the next general election.

There will be a full report in the next issue of the Socialist but with a number of new people signing up to the Usdaw Broad Left, it is clear that members are keen to join the many other unions striking for better pay.