Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/532/4076

From The Socialist newspaper, 7 May 2008

'Raising the roof' at Usdaw conference

Shopworkers' union Usdaw's annual conference took place against the background of the credit crunch crises and just before Labour's election debacle.

Robbie Segal, delegate, personal capacity

Socialist Party members received a good response to two editions of the 'Retail and Distribution Activist' - one delegate donated 20 after reading it.

Many delegates exist on wages just above the national minimum wage. The majority in retail work part time, working anything from two hours upwards.

We heard a lot about what New Labour had achieved for us. But we still do not get paid a decent living wage, don't get paid for parental leave or the first three days of sick since New Labour withdrew sick pay. Housing is at a premium and we cannot get dental care or hospital treatment when we need it.

The conference debated the issue of 'absence from work' policies and domestic violence. The conference raised the roof when we won the call for the reintroduction of health and safety committees at both Tesco stores and warehouse/distribution depots as a matter of urgency.

The debate calling for a change in the law to allow for one GP's signature of consent for an abortion was contentious. Some delegates said that the whole question needed to be looked at again. This is a warning signal of the need to defend abortion rights.

Conference agreed that equal pay for women had been demanded for over 100 years and we still did not have it. Usdaw should be campaigning against low pay and for a decent minimum wage of at least 8 an hour.

The whole conference was tightly controlled by the president who made light of calling for propositions to be formally seconded rather than encouraging delegates to speak.

We had the pleasure of a talk from Hazel Blears, secretary of state for communities and local government. There was a resolution to instruct Usdaw-sponsored MPs to call for a change in the government's policy on housing.

This called for local authorities to improve council stock and build enough new council homes to end the housing crisis. This promoted a good debate and was supported with qualifications.

Jackie Smith, home secretary, was also invited. Delegates could only guess that this was for prestige purposes or to get us to vote Labour.

One delegate managed to ask her how come the government had enough money to give to Northern Rock but not to pay public-sector workers a decent wage? Jackie Smith replied: "You wouldn't want to see a bank fail".

The international debate included propositions calling for the UK to distance itself from America's confrontational foreign policy and an end to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. These were opposed vigorously by the leadership.

Suddenly delegates could not speak if they had spoken previously, handpicked speakers opposing propositions were brought in and delegates were interrupted during their summing up.

This was a contrast to the dull conferences of previous years. No wonder that it's rumoured that John Hannett, the general secretary, will be standing for re-election later this year before his term ends.

  • We sold 70 copies of The Socialist at the conference and raised 533 for the Socialist Party Fighting Fund.
  • Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


    In The Socialist 7 May 2008:

    Coventry: Socialist election success shows the way forward

    Meltdown for Brown - but he won't change course

    Elections round-up and results

    Election victories for class fighters

    Racist BNP have no solutions!


    Socialist Party news and analysis

    Grangemouth refinery: Oil strike wins concessions

    May Day marches

    Defend abortion rights

    TUC attacks Labour on working poverty

    Bangor Socialist Students fight tuition fees

    Obituary: Ray Apps

    Album review: The Bright Lights of America


    Socialist Party Marxist analysis

    France 1968: Capitalism brought to its knees

    How workers and youth are building a Left alternative in France

    Sri Lanka: 25 years of war and conflict


    May Day Greetings

    May Day Greetings 2008 in The Socialist (p4)

    May Day Greetings 2008, The Socialist (p6)

    May Day Greetings 2008, The Socialist (p7)

    May Day Greetings 2008, The Socialist (p9)

    May Day Greetings 2008, The Socialist (p10)

    May Day Greetings 2008, The Socialist (p11)

    May Day Greetings 2008, The Socialist (p15)


    Socialist Party workplace news

    Unison witch-hunt: Defend the four, come to the lobby!

    Mark Thomas condemns witch-hunt

    'Raising the roof' at Usdaw conference

    Support Shelter workers

    National Shop Stewards Network second conference

    Come to the 2008 Campaign for a New Workers' Party conference


     

    Home   |   The Socialist 7 May 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

    Subscribe   |   Donate  




    Related links:

    Usdaw:

    triangleRetail crunch: more giants on their knees - nationalise them now

    triangleBroad Left candidate elected as Usdaw deputy general secretary

    triangleWales TUC 2018: Socialist Party members challenge leadership at undemocratic conference

    triangleEast London Socialist Party: 'Made in Dagenham' - Ford women workers' pay strike 50 years on

    triangleSolid strike at Tesco Dagenham distribution centre forces pay talks

    Labour:

    triangle1000 issues of the Socialist: A vital weapon standing in proud traditions

    triangleKnowsley council pushed back on cuts and privatisation

    triangleDesperate divisions in Tories - Corbyn and unions must act

    triangleMiners demand end to pensions robbery

    Abortion:

    triangleSalford Socialist Party: The abortion rights victory in Ireland

    triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: How Southern Ireland won abortion rights

    triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Ireland's Abortion rights referendum

    Domestic violence:

    triangleSocialist Party meeting to discuss fightback against cuts to women's services

    triangleInternational Women's Day

    Reports and campaigns

    Reports and campaigns

    20/6/18

    Derby

    Rolls-Royce: fight all job cuts!

    20/6/18

    Grenfell Tower

    Grenfell disaster: one year on, still no prosecutions, still no adequate housing..

    20/6/18

    Tamil Solidarity

    Tamil Solidarity Day: intense, lively, thought-provoking

    20/6/18

    DWP

    DWP surrenders to union pressure - now vote Yes to smash pay cap for everyone

    20/6/18

    Orgreave

    Orgreave - no justice, no peace

    20/6/18

    Knowsley

    Knowsley council pushed back on cuts and privatisation

    20/6/18

    Cuts

    Wrenford centre: Stop heartless Tory cuts

    20/6/18

    Leeds

    Leeds: Disability campaigners force council to retreat

    20/6/18

    Socialist Party

    Organisers' school - an opportunity to educate and discuss

    20/6/18

    National Shop Stewards Network

    Unite agrees NSSN affiliation - come to the NSSN conference!

    20/6/18

    NHS

    Yorks NHS workers fight outsourcing

    20/6/18

    Rail

    Northern Rail strike reaches 21 days of action to save guards

    20/6/18

    BFAWU

    McStrikers and young workers take centre stage at bakers' union 2018 conference

    20/6/18

    GMB

    GMB union: NHS reps reject Tory pay offer

    20/6/18

    The Socialist

    How do we produce the Socialist?

    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: 0798 202 1969

    East Mids: 0773 797 8057

    London: 020 8988 8786

    North East: 0784 114 4890

    North West 07769 611 320

    South East: 020 8988 8777

    South West: 07759 796 478

    Southern: 07833 681910

    Wales: 07935 391 947

    West Mids: 02476 555 620

    Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

    ABOUT US

    ARCHIVE

    Alphabetical listing


    June 2018

    May 2018

    April 2018

    March 2018

    February 2018

    January 2018

    2017

    2016

    2015

    2014

    2013

    2012

    2011

    2010

    2009

    2008

    2007

    2006

    2005

    2004

    2003

    2002

    2001

    2000

    1999