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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 January 2021

Ryan Aldred: Why I'm standing for the Usdaw union executive council

Ryan Aldred, left, campaigning against Debenhams job losses and store closures

Ryan Aldred, left, campaigning against Debenhams job losses and store closures   (Click to enlarge)

With Covid decimating the retail sector, it is vital that Usdaw takes a lead in organising retail and distribution workers in supermarkets, high street chains and smaller, independent businesses.

Workers shouldn't pay for this crisis, every job must be defended.

We need an end to zero and low-hours contracts, except where members specifically opt in.

Supermarket and distribution staff have worked through three lockdowns to ensure that everyone in Britain has access to food. Retail and distribution workers should be rewarded with wages that reflect their status as key workers.

This is why we need 12 an hour as a minimum wage with hazard pay for workers putting themselves at risk to continue to deliver what has been recognised as a vital service.

We shouldn't shy away from taking industrial action up to and including strike action if supermarket bosses refuse to give up their bumper profits.

We need to challenge companies like Sainsbury's which can afford to pay out massive dividends to shareholders while simultaneously putting thousands of jobs at risk.

With each subsequent lockdown we have seen many names disappearing from the high street for good. We need a leadership prepared to roll out a retail industrial strategy calling for public ownership to save the hundreds of thousands of jobs currently at risk, whether it be Debenhams, the Arcadia Group or any of those on the growing list of retailers who have fallen into administration.

If elected, I would take such a strategy to the Usdaw executive council to ensure that key supermarket workers and non-essential retail and distribution workers alike are protected. A vote for me is a vote for a fighting, democratic leadership.

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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 government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • 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.
  • When the health crisis subsides, 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.
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In The Socialist 13 January 2021:


News

Our health and livelihoods before their profits

Londoners suffer and Khan piles on pressure

Bosses earn workers' annual wage in three days


NHS

NHS Emergency - Fight for a fully funded, publicly owned, socialist NHS

Dispatches from the front - health workers speak out

NHS pandemic warnings ignored - renationalise our NHS


Schools

Schools: Act together to oppose unsafe numbers and rising workload


Economy

Global capitalism at most dangerous conjuncture since the 1930s


Vaccines

Fully resource the vaccination programme now

Covid vaccine nationalism threatens pandemic response


International news

How should socialists respond to the 6 January attacks on Capitol Hill?


Retail

Lockdown 3.0 - fight to make our shops safe!

Ryan Aldred: Why I'm standing for Usdaw's EC


Workplace news

Unison get sec election shows left can win NEC

Royal mail management forced to make concessions

British Gas workers strike against 'fire and rehire' plans

Get stuck in to build a fighting, democratic PCS union


Youth and students

Refund student rent and fees - fight for free education and make the 1% pay

Exams scrapped again - young people need a future with jobs and free education


Campaigns and party news

Help us fund the fight for Socialism

TUSC to hold local elections conference in February


Review

Book Review: Humankind - Dispelling the myth that humans are too selfish for socialism


 

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