Morrisons workers reject pay offer – now for action to fight for more

Morrisonsl, photo Jim Barton/CC

Morrisonsl, photo Jim Barton/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

‘Jack Gallimore’, Morrisons worker and Usdaw Broad Left member

The 17 May could be an historic moment for Morrisons workers. It is now time for our union Usdaw, the shop workers’ union, to dig deep and come out on top.

It’s that classic line all reps in Morrisons have heard, from disgruntled members and opinionated non-members, the length and breadth of the UK, in nearly every pay brief for years: ‘It will go through regardless’.

But that is changing, a staggering 18,792 votes to reject the latest Morrisons pay deal, in comparison to the 8,410 that voted in favour.

There can be no doubt the membership are disgruntled and have rallied together, but this is ultimately down to the hard work of in-store reps. Usdaw didn’t support the deal, but national reps didn’t officially denounce the offer despite being very vocal on social media to vote No. While they clearly must have been under pressure, they missed a golden opportunity to lead the membership in Morrisons.

Yet despite all this the members are clearly angry enough to turn out and actively reject the offer. It’s a clear second chance and an opportunity for the national negotiating team to fight back. There is clearly a need to reconvene with lay reps and call an emergency forum meeting, and listen to what elected representatives from each store want to see in the next set of talks, including discussing the possibility of balloting for industrial action.

Of course this shouldn’t just rest on the national reps. Branches have an opportunity to mandate the national reps and officers. They at least want to see stronger statements from Usdaw, whatever the outcome of the next stage of talks is.

A lobby of workers and activists should be organised at Morrisons head office in Bradford like the GMB union organised at Asda HQ recently (see ‘Asda workers protest against attacks on paid breaks and bank holiday working’).

Nearly a year into Usdaw’s new leadership, there is a clear opportunity to stand up to Morrisons’ arrogant bosses. The rejection of this pay deal is most importantly a second chance to get a better deal for the members, but also to show that Usdaw has sharp teeth when necessary.