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Usdaw conference 2018: Outgoing leadership's attacks on socialism contrasts with fighting mood of conference
Liat Norris, Usdaw ADM delegate (personal capacity)
In the run up to Usdaw's annual delegate meeting (ADM) rank-and-file activists discovered that the Socialist paper was denied a press pass to cover the conference.
This was met with outrage from ordinary Usdaw members who couldn't believe a decision to bar a paper that covers trade union issues, and supports workers in struggle. Some called for emergency motions to criticise the decision.
Socialist Party members didn't let this stop us from selling the Socialist to conference delegates - selling over 100 copies assisted by Socialist Party members in the North West.
As reported in the last issue of the Socialist, this was just one of the attacks made by the Usdaw leadership against the Socialist Party with more being made by Usdaw general secretary John Hannett during the debates on affiliation to the Refugee Rights Campaign and National Shop Stewards Network.
The latter debate saw a massive walkout of delegates over rule-breaking during the vote, forcing a re-run and a narrow defeat in a card vote.
Despite these votes falling, there was a mood on the conference floor for increasing the union's campaigning and it's clear among ordinary Usdaw members that there is a desire to fight against low pay and poor conditions.
There is no better example than the election of socialist Amy Murphy to the union's presidency. Contrast this with commemorations marking Hannett's retirement coming at the end of conference from Tony Blair, Sir Brendan Barber and a representative of Tesco!
- See 'Retail union backs zero-hour ban, leaders oppose rank-and-file coordination' for a further report of the conference
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