Angry Usdaw members strike at Sainsbury’s distribution centre
Scott Jones, chair, Usdaw East London C026 branch (personal capacity)
Dozens of members of shop workers’ union Usdaw picketed Sainsbury’s Waltham Point distribution centre in Essex for most of their 24-hour strike against changes to sickness policy.
The solid 27 June strike was called by the warehouse workers who are angry at the proposed changes.
The picket line was joined throughout the day by Socialist Party members including Usdaw president Amy Murphy. Usdaw members from branches in East London, Bishop’s Stortford and others also brought solidarity.
Workers were buoyed by taking strike action. Turnout in the ballot was 67% with 73% voting in favour. And there was a good mood on the picket line which brought many of the site’s 380 workers together as they talked about other issues such as workload, bullying and pay.
One worker told the Socialist: “We’ve walked out today over the ridiculous attack on our attendance policy, but it could have been for a whole number of things that we have had a gutful of. But this strike is a great start.”
There was also anger at the current government and both Tory leadership candidates, especially Boris Johnson, and their record on the NHS and austerity cuts. All agreed there should be a general election.
This is the second distribution strike organised by Usdaw in the greater London area in as many years as Dagenham Tesco workers walked out in May 2018 for better pay.
The Socialist Party stands in solidarity with those striking back against these attacks and for better pay.
Management doesn’t want retail and distribution workers making a habit of standing up for themselves, but the increased fightback shows the effect Amy Murphy, who was elected with support for industrial action one of her main policies, has had as president.
The next day of strike action is 25 July.