spotCampaigns

spotOrganisations

spotArguments for socialism

spotPeople

spotInternational

spotEvents

spotAround the UK


All keywords


All Campaigns subcategories:

Anti-capitalism

Anti-fascist

Anti-racism

Anti-war

Asylum

Black and Asian

Children

CNWP

Corporate crime

Disability

Education

Election campaigns

Environment

EU

Finance

Food

Gender Recognition Act

Health and safety

Health and welfare

Housing

Human Rights

LGBT Pride

Local government

Local services

Low pay

Migration

Nationalisation

New workers party

NHS

Pensions

Post Office

Poverty

Privatisation

Public Services

* Socialism

Socialist

Sport

Stop the slaughter of Tamils

Students

The state

Transport

TUSC

Welfare rights

Women

Workplace and TU campaigns

Youth


Socialism keywords:

Planned economy (41)

Public ownership (148)

Socialism (898)

Working-class (169)

Public ownership


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 1031, 27 February 2019: Kick out austerity politicians

Search site for keywords: Retail - Supermarket - Jobs - Public ownership - Usdaw

Supermarket giants merger: protect jobs and fight price hikes

For democratic public ownership, not fat-cat-owned mega-monopolies

Asda-Sainsbury's merger

Asda-Sainsbury's merger   (Click to enlarge)

Iain Dalton, chair, Usdaw Broad Left (personal capacity)

A decision which could massively shake up Britain's retail sector is due in April as the Competition and Markets Authority rules on whether or not to allow Asda and Sainsbury's - the second and third largest supermarkets - to merge.

But the regulator announced on 20 February that it was "likely to be difficult" for the chains to "address the concerns" which it has.

Retail workers, along with working-class people who shop in these stores, certainly have their own concerns. These include the potential for job losses, attacks on terms and conditions, as well as the predicted price rises that will follow the merger.

There are crucial issues at stake for Britain's largest retail trade union Usdaw, which represents workers on both sides of the deal. Usdaw organises workers in over half of Sainsbury's stores, as well as in its subsidiary Argos.

It also represents Asda workers in Northern Ireland. General unions Unite and GMB have members in Sainsbury's and Asda respectively.

Already, both Sainsbury's and Asda have carried out management restructures ahead of this deal, in both cases pushing roles and responsibilities onto lower-paid workers. There is a clear danger of a two-tier workforce being created.

If the deal goes ahead it seems that the two companies will maintain a degree of separation. But the unions should be proactive.

There should be joint meetings between Usdaw, Unite and GMB shop stewards representing the workforces to plan a joint campaign to increase wages, and fight to improve terms and conditions.

At minimum, the unions should campaign for all workers to receive the best conditions currently offered across the two stores - and no less than the pay and conditions demanded by Usdaw's 'Time for Better Pay' campaign.

This campaign fights for a 10-an-hour minimum wage and an end to zero-hour contracts. Whether a merger goes ahead or not, these demands must be fought for.

Merger off the cards?

However, it is looking increasingly likely that the merger could be rejected because of the potential concentration of too much of the retail market in one company, which would overtake Tesco in market share. Any merged company would control 2,800 stores.

Usdaw has rightly raised concerns over the Competition and Markets Authority's possible plans to order the closure or sale of stores - possibly up to 629 locations where competition is likely to be lessened.

If the deal does not go through then it seems likely that both companies will try to recoup the 'efficiencies' they expected to emerge from the deal by making further staff cuts, particularly if, as rumoured, Asda is fully or partially sold to a private equity firm.

Usdaw should start preparing to campaign to protect the jobs of workers in those stores and opposing their closure, particularly in the crisis on the high street.

But in its press releases the Usdaw leadership mistakenly makes arguments based on what it considers 'best for the market'.

Fundamentally, the logic of the market is driven by what generates the largest profits, whether by squeezing the wages, terms and conditions of staff, screwing over suppliers and customers, or merging and cutting to achieve 'efficiencies'.

The best way of protecting the jobs of retail workers is to campaign for bringing the big supermarket chains into public ownership, as part of a nationalised, democratic plan of production and distribution of goods and services.

Instead of imposing store closures and job losses where these are deemed surplus to requirements, there would be consultation with workers and the local community about what stores are needed, and any savings through efficiencies should be transferred into a reduction of the full-time working week - with no loss of pay - instead of into the pockets of shareholders.

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 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.
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: 

 







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: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


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