Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1061/29747

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 October 2019

Asda contracts: Vital that GMB mobilises for industrial action

GMB union members protest outside Asda in South Shields, photo Elaine Brunskill

GMB union members protest outside Asda in South Shields, photo Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

Iain Dalton, Socialist Party West Yorkshire organiser

About 400 hundred Asda workers and members of the GMB union marched defiantly through Leeds on 16 October, angry at the company's plans to sack staff members that hadn't signed up to the company's 'Contract 6'- with its unacceptable working conditions - by a 2 November deadline.

Unfortunately, this demo passing Asda house in Leeds (the third to date) was smaller than the previous one back in August. It reflects the fact that many workers had signed the contract, feeling that the alternative of losing their job was far worse.

While the GMB has done more to mobilise its members in Asda than other unions in retail have done when companies have been attempting to impose contract changes, much of this has been too little, too late.

Although GMB general secretary Tim Roache made fiery announcements that the union would never accept workers being transferred onto Contract 6 and - following security being beefed up around Asda House for this protest - that he was prepared to be arrested, other parts of his speech told a different story.

He explained how he'd personally agreed to 'Your Choice' the forerunner to Contract 6 being introduced on the basis of it being voluntary for staff to move onto it - in effect that the collective bargaining of the union had been abandoned for each member to fend for themselves.

As multi-tier contract situations elsewhere in retail have ended up with workers eventually being forced onto the worst one by companies, did he really expect Asda would act any differently?

He said the GMB would fight through legal channels for those who wouldn't sign the new contract, but did that mean he saw no alternative way to stop the sackings?

He also said that this isn't the end of the campaign and that GMB is starting "phase two" to get workplace union density up to 50%.

But the best way to achieve this is to prove the union is prepared to fight. The failure to escalate action beyond protests and prepare for strike action will mean many workers questioning the unions resolve to stand up to Asda management.

On the demo Socialist Party members distributed a leaflet arguing for a strategy to build for such action, even at this late stage.

Way forward

Workers agreed with us that this would be the only way forward, especially when we raised the question of 'disaggregating' the ballot - which could mean more densely unionised stores, some of which still have 80% of affected staff refusing to sign up to the new contract, could take action which would shake Asda management.

If this was tied to demands such as a 12-an-hour minimum wage, these demands could draw into the struggle those workers who had already signed up to contract six under pressure, or new starters who start on it.

If, on the other hand, the struggle isn't escalated and the sackings take place following the November deadline, Asda management will pursue further attacks in the future.

Union reps and workers in Asda need to learn the lessons of this struggle, particularly the need for a serious strategy to mobilise for industrial action as the best way to defeat such attacks.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 23 October 2019:


What we think

General election is the real 'people's vote'

CWU vote for strike will boost confidence to fight back


News

Boot out Boris and his bosses' deal. General election now!

"I need to get to work! I need to feed my kids!"

Rail report into death of Cardiff Socialist Party member

Boot racism out of football - reclaim the game!

Enfield North Labour Party: Defend local democracy


Minimum wage

Minimum wage: What should we be demanding?


Workplace news

Uniting workers and public to fight the cuts: Interview with Jared Wood - candidate for RMT union executive

Marion Lloyd for PCS union general secretary

Asda contracts: Vital that GMB mobilises for industrial action

NEU members strike against sixth-form funding cuts

Bradford: Workers walk out over council cuts

Workplace news in brief


Chinese revolution

China at the crossroads: 70 years since the declaration of the People's Republic of China


International socialist news and analysis

Catalonia: Draconian prison sentences of independence leaders provokes mass protests and strikes

Chile: An outpouring of rage against the capitalist system

Solidarity with the Kurdish people

Massive protests against Lebanon's corrupt elite


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Join the party that dares to fight for socialism

Packed labour movement service a fitting farewell to Tony Mulhearn

Socialism 2019: Join us for a festival of ideas

Burnt-out Barking residents picket builders' sales day

Which way forward for the working people and youth of Nigeria?

Posties speak at Basingstoke Socialist Party public meeting

Socialists attract support at first Newton Abbot meeting


Letters

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 October 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Asda:

triangleAsda equal pay ruling victory - now fight for equal pay for all

triangleAsda workers protest callous bosses

triangleAsda protests

triangleAsda workers protest against worse contract

triangleWhat strategy can end the retail jobs massacre?

GMB:

triangleTory plans won't fix social care

triangleBrighton waste workers walk out

triangleNHS workers reject 3% insult

triangleSandwell Leisure workers: No to 'fire and rehire'

Workers:

triangleSupport uni workers' walk-out on pay and pensions

triangleHistoric victory of India's farmers

triangleThe struggle for accessible workplaces and an inclusive society

Union:

triangleWhat did you think of Socialism 2021?

triangleRMT to strike in night-tube dispute

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

24/11/21

Tesco

Tesco warehouse workers ballot for strike action

24/11/21

Higher Education

Support uni workers' walk-out on pay and pensions

24/11/21

London

RMT to strike in night-tube dispute

24/11/21

Hackney

Victory! Hackney children's centres saved

24/11/21

Socialism 2021

Socialism 2021: A steely determination to change society

24/11/21

Socialist

Selling the Socialist

24/11/21

Cuts

Northampton: Phoney consultation to mask cuts

24/11/21

Cuts

Slough: Adult service cuts will leave vulnerable homeless

24/11/21

Newham

Newham: Durning Hall - another shameful act of Labour gentrification

24/11/21

Council

West Sussex: Payouts for council bosses, cuts for us

24/11/21

Pay

Sage care home workers' pay victory

24/11/21

Pay

Panasonic workers strike against pay freeze

24/11/21

Midwives

Midwives march against unsafe staffing and for adequate funding

17/11/21

Birmingham

Birmingham People's Budget

17/11/21

South Wales

Stagecoach drivers win 10.50 an hour

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: [email protected]

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: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


November 2021

October 2021

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999