Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1042/29119

From The Socialist newspaper, 15 May 2019

Usdaw conference 2019

Usdaw united on need for fightback - now keep pressure on for action

Usdaw conference 2019, photo by David Owens

Usdaw conference 2019, photo by David Owens   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party members in Usdaw

The annual delegate meeting of retail and distribution union Usdaw had definitely turned a corner this year (see interim report 'Shop workers demand action on pay, jobs and the right' at socialistparty.org.uk).

This was helped by the departure of openly Blairite general secretary John Hannett. Paddy Lillis, his replacement, has tried to position himself as less rigid and more of a 'moderate', like Dave Prentis, the right-wing leader of public service union Unison.

The joint pressures of Deputy General Secretary Dave McCrossen, who identifies with the union's Broad Left group, and Socialist Party member Amy Murphy, Usdaw's newly elected president, are clearly having an effect.

Debates

The debates felt far less restricted this year with Amy in the chair. Under the previous president, Jeff Broome, crucial debates felt stage-managed, with pre-arranged delegates supporting the right-wing leadership's positions picked to speak.

This year's turnout for the Broad Left caucus was larger than last year, with around 30 attending. The Broad Left has met in several regions over the last year ahead of the union's divisional council meetings, with Socialist Party members such as Broad Left chair Iain Dalton being the main driving force.

Jeremy Corbyn addressed the union's conference, and re-committed to many good policies from the 'workers' charter' in his 2017 manifesto.

Unfortunately, he missed the opportunity to point a way forward on the major issues of the day. Corbyn could have used the platform to make his case for a workers' Brexit, and call for trade union action to force a general election and end the Tory government.

One of the starkest differences was that the conference floor and union leadership were largely in sync. Up until this year, motions committing Usdaw to action were largely opposed by the right-wing leadership.

For instance, in a naked attack on the Socialist Party, Hannett even resorted to calling the National Shop Stewards Network a Socialist Party 'front' to defeat a motion to affiliate last year.

This year, Scott Jones and Isai Priya of the Socialist Party put forward motions calling for "struggling" shops to open their books to trade union scrutiny, and calling on Usdaw to support the 'jobs and homes, not racism' campaign.

Not only were these propositions enthusiastically supported by the delegates, but the union's executive advocated support for both, as well as all the propositions reported in the last issue of the Socialist.

Action

However, it is one thing to agree to a position, and quite another to translate it into action. It is clear from the Morrisons pay offer that the union's negotiators aren't firmly putting the 10-an-hour position.

Usdaw's launch of the 'Save Our Shops' campaign and national days of action are important first steps. But the union has been very quiet on nationalisation of closing shops, despite a previous conference calling for that.

Usdaw members will need to continue to pressure the union bureaucracy to turn outwards and develop mass campaigns on these and other issues. By organising public campaign stalls and demonstrations, and preparing members to take strike action, the union could attract new membership and win the fight with the bosses and this utterly divided Tory government.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 15 May 2019:


News

Take the wealth off the super-rich

Privatisers sue NHS - kick out the fat cats and fully nationalise our health service!

Workload-related mistakes by GPs on the rise - health unions need to fight back

Knife crime tragedy linked to council cuts

Them & Us


What we think

Bosses fear revolt against capitalism


Workplace news

Mitie workers striking against poverty pay

Birmingham home care strikers close to victory!

Newham gas workers' strike threat

Usdaw united on need for fightback - now keep pressure on for action

End high-stakes testing in primary schools: build the boycott ballot!

PCS union officialdom splits vote, removes Chris Baugh - but is still rejected by members

Honda bosses confirm Swindon closure: Unite must signal it will fight


International socialist news and analysis

Revolution and counter-revolution in Sudan


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Trump UK visit: Protest against the billionaire bigot

Palestinian solidarity demo


Climate change

Profit system rapidly destroying environment

Socialist policies needed to halt climate disaster


Opinion

May 1649 - the Last Stand of the Levellers

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 15 May 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Usdaw:

triangleLow Pay, Long Hours. Bosses rip us off. Organise the fightback now!

triangleThe Activist Issue 82 - for retail workers

trianglePay Deal: ACAS sides with management

triangleIncompetent bosses use tech to bully us

triangleSainsbury's strikers win

Union:

triangleRenewing the left in PCS

triangleEyewitness report: workers' struggle in France on the boil

triangleUnion lawyer arrested on security guards' picket line

triangleWestex Carpet strike reaches two month mark

Socialist:

triangleBristol Socialist Party: Socialists and Bristol's mayoral election

triangleBristol Socialist Party meeting (subject tbc)

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: Building the Socialist Party in 2020

Socialist Party:

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: Capitalism and the food industry

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: What is the role of social media?

Trade union:

triangleWhat next after the general election, for PCS and the left

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleReverse Unison's undemocratic nomination of Blairite Starmer

Retail:

triangleArgos Christmas bonus cut

National Shop Stewards Network:

triangleNational Shop Stewards Network 2020 conference

Shop Stewards:

triangleNSSN conference 2019: at the heart of trade union struggle

Strike:

triangleHackney Socialist Party: A general strike - What, how, why and when?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

23/1/20

London

Unite regional committee votes to support anti-cuts Enfield councillor

22/1/20

East London

A win against academisation in east London

22/1/20

Council

Make a stand: set legal no-cuts council budgets

22/1/20

Tamil Solidarity

Building Tamil Solidarity with youth and the unions

22/1/20

Royal Mail

Royal Mail workers to reballot for strike action

22/1/20

South Yorkshire

"If you think bus and rail services are crap, sign our petition to take them back"

22/1/20

Belfast

Belfast Hovis workers' all-out strike

22/1/20

PCS

Renewing the left in PCS

22/1/20

Liverpool

Capitalism fails NHS services in Liverpool: scrap PFI!

15/1/20

Young people

Young people who voted for Corbyn's manifesto will now ask... How can we win those ideas?

15/1/20

Scotland

Massive Scottish independence demo marks new stage in struggle

15/1/20

London

London: Protesters return to oppose Middle East war

15/1/20

Government

Cladding scandal: Government steps up defence of landlords

15/1/20

Nottingham

Nottingham: Youth protest against Barclays 64 million fossil-fuel investments

15/1/20

Strike

Westex Carpet strike reaches two month mark

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

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: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999