Max McGee addressing the Socialist Party fringe meeting
Max McGee addressing the Socialist Party fringe meeting

Socialist Party members in Usdaw

This year’s Usdaw Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM) has already seen a sea of discussion around the cost-of-living crisis. A common theme is that despite members being recognised through the pandemic as key workers, they continue to remain some of the lowest paid and most exploited.

Socialist Party members were to the fore. Former Usdaw president Amy Murphy moved a proposition calling for Boxing Day to be negotiated as a guaranteed day off, with an additional day’s holiday pay. This was keenly taken up by members.

Chair of the Usdaw Broad Left, Iain Dalton, raised the need for Usdaw to push for union recognition for workers in Stepchange, a debt advice charity which the union promotes to members.

Despite unsuccessful manoeuvres to attempt to block Ryan Aldred from speaking from the rostrum, he moved an amalgamated proposition calling for a minimum wage of £15 an hour, while negotiating wages that better reflect members’ status as key workers.

The union leadership seized upon a line left in the composited proposition about £12 as a step to £15, to try to backpedal somewhat. But in his right of reply, Ryan invited delegates to indicate whether delegates wanted union officials to negotiate for £15 an hour or £12. The response was unanimous with not a single hand going up for the latter.

Socialist Party members held one of our biggest ever fringe meetings. Those present were keen to show solidarity with victimised Tesco rep Max McGee, who is going to employment tribunal in June. Amy Murphy spoke of the need for a new workers’ party, and the importance of standing Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates. Iain Dalton emphasised how far Labour policy had diverged from union policies since Keir Starmer took over from Corbyn.

Former PCS assistant general secretary Chris Baugh rounded off the discussion by raising the need for Usdaw members to mobilise alongside other unions for the national demo called by the Trades Union Congress on 18 June.

The support for our ideas was reflected in the finance appeal and in sales of the Socialist. £141 was raised for the Socialist Party’s fighting fund, and £18 from book sales.

At the time of writing this there are still more than half the propositions left to be debated, including affiliation to the National Shop Stewards Network and Youth Fight For Jobs, which Socialist Party members will be supporting despite opposition from the union leadership. A further report will appear in the next issue of the Socialist.