Friday, 27 June 2008

UK union refuses to smear Tesco -Tesco: under fire in US

Taken from
FRONT PAGE: UK union refuses to smear Tesco -Tesco: under fire in US
Clare O'Connor - 12-Jun-08

A major UK trade union is declining to join US counterparts who have vowed to damage the reputation of Tesco around the world.
America's 1.3 million- member United Food and Commercial Workers' Uni­on (UFCW) has pledged to shame Tesco into imp­r­oving treatment of employees at its US Fresh & Easy chain. Labour MP Jon Cruddas is backing the campaign, and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have urged Tesco to co-operate with the UFCW.
But, in a boost for Tesco, the UK's Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) says it will not publicly come out in support of the campaign. ‘Obviously we're aware of the American campaign,' said Usdaw general secretary John Hannett. But he ins­isted: ‘Tesco has a record of recognising unions across the world.'But a trade union insider said Usdaw was not entering the row for fear of upsetting its partnership agreement with Tesco. ‘If Tesco picks up the papers and sees Usdaw criticising it, that will rock the boat,' said the source.Tesco and Usdaw's agreement means there are union representatives covering each shop, with Tesco paying for recruitment and training.document.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Appeal to Warehouse and Distribution Reps

This weekend sees the USDAW Warehouse and Distribution conference in Warrington - the following appeal will be circulated calling on members to support Robbie Segal's campaign.

- Usdaw General Secretary Election
- Fight for a living wage
- Against partnership
- Fight for trade union democracy
- A General Secretary on a worker’s wage

Dear Usdaw member,
AT LAST! Over 14 months after the proposition was passed at the ADM calling for a Conference, it is taking place. In my view at least three years too late. We have seen the closure of some of the depots with the best terms and conditions, other depots have been forced to accept a deterioration in their terms and conditions. This has happened while there has been an improper rush to sign as many new agreements as possible on terms and conditions well below the established depots. The danger is that these new sites will be used to undermine the conditions in the better organised depots.
The feeling is that Partnership is being forced upon us to ensure the continuation of the retail agreement and because the failure to organise the new sites.
I believe that this Conference should be the first step in organising the fight back. Usdaw needs to be a union based on the democratic participation of its membership. It is not just a question of listening but fighting on behalf of its members.
The press is full of stories about the UK economic problems. But with basic food and heating costs going through the roof, the workers on low pay, many of whom are our members, face hard times ahead. If there is a squeeze on profits then our bosses will look to save money. They are attacking us already. As a union we must prepare to fight these attacks on our wages and conditions.
I’m appealing for nominations for myself as the only anti-partnership and pro-democracy candidate. Although the general secretary had his EC endorsement printed on the circular announcing the election, there is no way the other candidates can circulate their programme to the branches. You might even have been pressurised by an official to vote for John – another example of the democratic process working. John might think this is fair but it is not my idea of trade union democracy.
We hear a lot about listening from New Labour and one of the candidates in this election. My approach will be different. Of course, I will listen. But we will discuss and debate and even argue. And then we take action. My attitude to a wage claim is that we consult and then campaign around the demands to ensure it is genuinely the members’ claim. If there is a need to fight then it will be up to the members to decide on the action. I believe the Union should be handed back to the members.
Distribution and Warehouse sites are now an important part of our Union. I believe that the present Area Organiser arrangements need changing. Over the last few years, there has been a reduction in the number of officials working in the Divisions. I will restore the numbers and in the Divisions with large numbers of warehouse and distribution members I will appoint a dedicated Area Organiser.
If you want to join the fight to change Usdaw then email me at:

Monday, 23 June 2008


The EC has agreed to STOP the decline in the numbers of Full Time Officials working in the Division
3 more Area Organiser posts have been created
The number of Full Time Officials working in the Divisions has declined while their work load has increased
Do you think they are happy about their extra work?
If you do then you have not been listening.
EC and John Hannett have responded to my demand to stop the decline
According to the 2003 Annual Report, there were 331,972 industrial members and they were serviced by 118 officers. In the last Annual Report 2007, there were 356,046 industrial members and they were serviced by 114 officials.
Progress is being made in getting the leadership to listen to the concerns of its STAFF

Women and Usdaw

Usdaw is a union with 205,672 women members and women make up 58% of the total membership. I believe one of the key weaknesses in Usdaw is the lack of women in the key leadership positions. All the four Central Officials are men and the president is a man. Importantly in the Divisions: the seven Divisional Officers are men, the seven Deputy Divisional Officers are men, there are 92 Area Organisers and only 30 are women, and of the 7 RDO’s left six are women. In the Divisions, there are now 77 men and 36 women making a total 113 officials.
The situation is not improving. In the 2001 Annual Report there was a total of 117 officials working in the Divisions of these 81 were men and 36 were women. I am sure you can work out the record of the Usdaw leadership on supporting women in Usdaw.
Usdaw on a weekly basis is run by four men – the Central Officials. A male only cabal is not an effective way to run a modern day trade union. When elected, I will change the composition of the Central Officer’s weekly meeting to ensure that there is an equal number of women to men plus the general secretary.
One of the barriers to involve our women members in the higher positions of the union is that they are not allowed to job share. As the general secretary, I will investigate and introduce a method that will allow all the members of our union to apply for positions within the union.

Robbie Segal
(Candidate for Usdaw General Secretary)

Two Upcoming Conferences

This coming weekend there are two conferences coming up that readers of this blog will no doubt be interested in.
National Shop Stewards Network Conference
Saturday 28 June, 11.30am-4.30pm.
South Camden Community School, Charrington Street, London NW1.
Speakers include Bob Crow RMT, Janice Godrich, PCS, Brian Caton POA. Delegates fee £5. See or ring 020 8522 1156.

Campaign for a new workers' party Conference
Sunday 29 June 11am - 5pm
South Camden Community School, Charrington Street, London NW1
Nearest stations - Kings Cross & St Pancras, Euston, Mornington Crescent
Speakers confirmed so far include:
Bob Crow, RMT general secretary
Dave Nellist, Campaign for a New Workers' Party national chair
John McInally, PCS vice president
Simeon Andrews, Labour Representation Committee secretary
Rob Hoveman, Respect co-ordinating committee
Dave Church, Walsall Democratic Labour Party
Mike Davies, Alliance for Green Socialism chair
For info visit

Thursday, 12 June 2008

The Struggle For A living Wage

By Robbie Segal

(Usdaw General Secretary candidate)

The minimum wage for many of our members is an important issue. Shop workers are low paid and are paid the minimum wage or just above. As a Tesco worker I know what it is like to live on little more than the minimum wage year after year.

As part of my election programme I have called for an hourly rate of £8 per hour. At present, the minimum wage is £5.52 per hour if you are 22 and over - a 36.5 hour week gives you a weekly pay of £201.48. For younger workers the rate is even more pitiful. A worker aged 18-21 is on £4.60 per hour and £3.40 per hour for all workers under the age of 18.

Is this enough to live on!?With prices of all the main stable foods rocketing, and fuel for our car and to heat our homes becoming luxury items, the trade unions must intervene to end poverty wages.

For those living on the meagre wages of the National Minimum Wage, it is a disgrace to the fourth richest country in the world. If all those who set the National Minimum Wage had to live on such a wage then they would be the first to shout loudest for a massive increase.

Twenty years ago in Usdaw when the minimum wage debate started, the union agreed to fight for a weekly wage of £120 for a 35 hour week. When the New Labour government came to power, the trade unions compromised on a much lower minimum hourly rate. The National Minimum Wage was introduced in 1999 and was set at £3.60 per hour. For 35 hours pay this worked out at £144 per week. A few quid more than the original demand some 10 years earlier. This compromise meant the National Minimum Wage was a poverty wage.

The government’s increases have been the bench mark for our negotiations. For the companies who only pay pennies above the minimum wage, they have to offer us the same as the minimum wage increase. This year the minimum wage was increased by 3.8%. So let’s see what Tesco, Sainsbury and Morrison offer us!

The Tesco starter rate is £5.94 and that is a mere 42p above the minimum wage and that is one of the best agreements.

The government is squeezing the public sector pay and it won’t be long before the same will be demanded in the private sector. What will our leaders do then? With their partnership strategy and acceptance of such a low minimum wage rate, it will be impossible to mobilise Usdaw members to fight for a few pennies.

One of the criticisms made against me when I demand a decent wage is that the members are apathetic and this is shown by the lack of turn-out in wage ballots. I believe the reason the members don’t vote is because they feel outside the whole wage bargaining process, feel their point of view does not matter anyhow and if they did fight would our leaders be serious about the struggle.

It won’t be an easy campaign to win a decent wage but it is a battle that must be started. Otherwise the millions of retail workers outside the ranks of the trade unions will remain there and the bosses will be laughing for the rest of their lives with the luxuries they receive from the labour of poor retail workers.

I will argue on the EC and at ADM that we start a campaign of mass mobilisation around the £8 per hour demand. I will ask the other unions with members in retail sector to join the struggle. But the one thing I am sure of, it won’t be a campaign giving instructions from the leaders of Usdaw to the our members.

Three of the four largest unions Usdaw, GMB and Unite (TGWU) all have agreements with the big four retailers. The unions should organise a joint national campaign to increase the wages for all retail workers. The unions should launch an extensive campaign of agitation to win retail workers to possible strike action thus ensuring the employers know the unions are really serious this time about fighting for members.. This is why I believe that all the trade unions must unite in a campaign to secure for the low paid a decent, living wage.

Build Affordable Homes Now!

Like any working mother one of my concerns is the future our children will face in the decades ahead. One of the issues that I feel strongly about is the lack of affordable housing. Many of Usdaw members are on low wages and even affording to put down a deposit for a house is an unobtainable dream. So what chance for our children?

One of the campaigns I believe the trade union should be shouting about is the housing crisis. There is embarrassment by some of the leadership in Usdaw to criticise the New Labour government. Labour has lost its socialist roots and many of Labour’s leaders have a get rich mentality Tony Blair has just bought his sixth house for £4 million.

· The four million already on waiting lists for housing will be joined by another million according to the Local Government Association.

· A Shelter report last year exposed the fact that 500,000 families live in overcrowded conditions, this means that 900,000 children in 21st century Britain are brought up in cramped housing conditions.

I believe not one family should lose their home from repossession. If Northern Rock can be bailed out to the tune of £61 billion, then so can families and individuals unable to keep up mortgage payments due to the current credit squeeze and high interest rates.

I believe there should a massive council house-building programme, which would mean a low rent and secure home which is the only way we can solve this current housing crisis.

I believe the banks and building societies should be nationalised and run under democratic working-class control and management.

Thanks you for looking at my programme and if you can help in promoting my campaign then please contact me.

Robbie Segal

Monday, 9 June 2008

Opposing Partnership – Building a fighting alternative

By Robbie Segal
(Candidate for Usdaw General Secretary)

In the Usdaw General Secretary election in 2003, John Hannett only received 19,063 votes while the National Officer, Val Pugh, obtained 13,729- votes and the Broad Left’s candidate Maureen Madden, standing on an anti-partnership programme, received 12,313 votes. Therefore, only 45,206 out of a possible 318,246 ballot papers were returned - a turnout of just over 14%. Hannett obtained less than 6% of the possible electorate. Clearly, John Hannett’s mandate is tenuous.

John Hannett, in his four years as general secretary, has been the most loyal of the very loyal supporters of New Labour. This acceptance of all aspects of New Labour pro business agenda meant that Usdaw had to passionately endorse the concept of their ‘social partnership’ strategy. In the EC statement to the 1998 ADM, it states, ‘Social partnership . . . will mean both unions and companies learning to do things differently. Some of the traditional ways we have of doing things may need to change.’ But have these changes brought any real benefits for Usdaw members?

Let’s remind ourselves of some of the Usdaw’s statement made 10 years ago. The EC document states, ‘It means the union is consulted on a wider range of issues’ and ‘Partnership means proper dialogue with the Union before decisions are taken, not giving us a “like it or lump it” choice.’ Is this consultation why we have had SYA forced on us? Is why so many of our members feel the forum process is little more than a joke? It appears the consultation part of the partnership is not working.

The statements claims, ‘The Union will be talking to employers about their political and ethical responsibilities. This might cover issues such as:
• where they source their overseas goods from;
• whether their suppliers overseas use child labour;
• packaging and recycling practices and the company’s role in the local community. ,

With the above issues making negative headlines for retail companies in the media, it would be interesting to see the responses to our protests on any of these issues because they don’t seem to have appeared in the press.

The truth is that Tesco now tell us what is about to happen and our influence is negligible. A good example of this is that Tesco now has reduced the premium rates for Sunday working and the result is we have members working on numerous Sunday contracts. This could be used to undermine unity in any future struggles. And surely no trade union negotiator would ever accept such a situation. When the members justly complain to the shop stewards, we are advised to say its Tesco’s policy and we have no influence on corporate policy. Partnership is a farce.

Usdaw’s basic definition of ‘Social partnership’ states it: “means employers and unions co-operating to improve working conditions and to give employees a greater say in how their company is run.” The statement continues
• It recognises that the union has a shared interest in the success of a company, because this is how secure jobs are delivered.
• It recognises that co-operation, not confrontation, is the way forward.
• And it recognises that employees can only develop their own agenda through an independent trade union.

Usdaw’s acceptance of partnership means that struggle must be avoided under all circumstances. Partnership has had a devastating effect for Usdaw retail members. Retail stores are the new sweat shops with workers earning a few pence above the minimum wage. Tesco pays its new starters £5.94 per hour. The minimum wage is £5.52 per hour. A Tesco workers’ wage will increase to £6.34 but to win this meagre sum, Usdaw has conceded terms and conditions.

Although Usdaw boasts that the ‘partnership’ has benefitted its members, the real beneficiary is Tesco and the other large retail company. Tesco now controls 31% of the grocery trade (Sainsbury’s 16%, Asda 16% and Morrison 11%) and one in every eight pounds spent in the UK is spent in Tesco stores. Tesco’s profits last year totalled a staggering £2.85 billion. Even with massive profits, Tesco looks towards schemes to maximise profits. It was reported that Tesco over the last few years have been establishing off shore companies in the Cayman Islands. It has been reported, this will mean they will save millions in taxes .

In the USA, Tesco has rejected the concept of partnership by refusing to even talk to the trade unions. The USA Tesco worker can expect £5 an hour but Tesco (USA) generously will consider thinking about yearly pay rises. In Poland Tesco’s employees have not had a pay rise for 8 years. Profit and anti trade unionism is Tesco real attitude towards partnership.

Tesco is the largest private sector employer in the country with over 275,000 employees. Usdaw has 135,000 members working in Tesco; representing over a third of Usdaw’s total membership. However, trade union density in Tesco stores remains less than fifty percent. A large portion of Usdaw's resources is directed towards increasing its membership in Tesco. But is partnership winning for the members in Tesco.

Partnership is not a new concept for the unions. It has long been a dream of a section of the labour movement to do away with the idea of the class struggle. After the 1926 General Strike, the Mond/Turner talks attempted to create a better working environment for employer/worker relations. However, under the impact of the 1929 economic slump the talks collapsed. Unfortunately for the trade union liberal their desire for social justice has been spoiled by employer’s greed for higher and higher profits.

These ideas of social peace have been a long time dream of liberal sections of the labour bureaucracy. Unable to compete with the Thatcher’s onslaught against the trade unions, these so-called leaders desperately grasped at any alternative that meant they never had to lead any form of industrial battle. With Blair’s New Labour government in control the trade union leaders accepted this class collaborationist agenda. Usdaw leaders jumped happily onto the bandwagon. First Bill Connor and now John Hannett have pushed Usdaw along the Blairite road further than any other union within the TUC. The proof of the bankruptcy of this strategy is the low wages paid in the retail sector.

Usdaw’s partnership strategy will lull our membership into a false sense of security. Taking the fight out of the membership armoury will mean when Tesco is forced to change tact because a change in government or under the impact of an economic crisis then the membership will fail to fight which will in turn lead to a plummeting of the membership.

However the strength of Usdaw in retail is backed by the well organised distribution centres. Some of these depots have near 100% membership. Therefore, these well organised distribution centres underpin the Union’s strength in the stores. The acceptance of partnership has a knock-on effect because the Union cannot defend any of its members because to do so would expose the partnership strategy for what it is. Recently many of the depots with the best agreements have been closed and rather than nationwide resistance the Usdaw leaders have allowed them to be picked off one-by-one.

The Tesco/Usdaw Partnership agreement

It would be wrong to reject the Partnership agreement out of hand. If the Tesco/Usdaw partnership is viewed as any other agreement then there are some good aspects within it.
• It allows all the reps in a store to meet once a month for two hours. If this is used correctly then it should be used to develop workplace organisation, ensuring members’ issues are resolved and build an activity culture.
• When new employees are being informed about the company, the shop steward is allowed a half-hour session with all new starters. This is the most important period for recruitment new starters to the Union.
• Every shop steward or Health and Safety reps has a programme of training which involves the Union.
• The agreement also allows for the use of Recruitment and Development Reps who are allowed out of their workplaces for 13 weeks to aid the recruitment in other stores

Congratulations to the official that pushed for the monthly rep team meetings that were inserted in the last renegotiation of the agreement.

However there are some parts of the agreement that has dangers for the Union. In agreeing to include the forum process within the Partnership document, the Union accepted an alternative method of solving employees’ grievance problems. Tesco is saying to their employees, you don’t need to go through the shop stewards because you can raise your concerns through the forums. Clearly this is an attempt by the companies to undermine the union by offering an alternative grievance structure for their employees. The Usdaw leadership agreed.

Partnership is not just an agreement it is a complete approach to industrial relations that results in the acceptance of the demands of Tesco and the other retail companies. In the long term the partnership will collapse and the union leaders will not have prepared the members for the onslaught by the bosses.

June 2008

Friday, 6 June 2008

A Comment and Response

Hi Robbie
Love your programme. Think the present lot need to be challenged. They have lost contact with what it's like to work in a store. I have always opposed Partnership and the idea you can be in the bosses bed without getting completely fucked. Do you have anything on your attitude towards Partnership?

Hi FunTimesAhead
Thanks for you support. There will be a statement on partnership by Monday or Tuesday. Keep an eye out for it. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Reply to a letter by John Hannett asking Usdaw staff to support him for General Secretary

Dear John

General Secretary Election

The campaign team who supports Robbie Segal for General Secretary were passed your letter to Usdaw staff asking them to support you in the General Secretary Election but do you deserve their support.

The Robbie Segal team has been asked to reply on some of the staff’s behalf. We would like to make some points on your letter and as you say in the letter you are a ‘listening General Secretary’ therefore let’s hope you reflect on some of the comments and please be free to contact us if you want to be part the debate on the future of the Union.

All the quotes in this reply are in your original letter.

You start my expressing you ‘was pleased to receive the Executive Council’s endorsement. We saw no resolution to that affect in the May minutes of the EC. The members want to know does this allow you the right to circulate the EC’s endorsement on the same circular that advises the branches of the timetable for the election. It is certainly an unfair advantage you got there. Surely none of the Union’s resources can be used in support of a candidate. John was this not an inappropriate use of the Union’s resources. What would you do if someone else did this?

The next point you make is that you are only standing for the GS position ‘because of legislation introduced by the Conservative Government. Are you telling us that you don’t agree with the legislation! Surely not! Hold on, have we not had a New Labour Government for 11 years and why did they not repeal these anti trade union laws. You were on the Labour Party NEC, so why is it still on the statue book. Did you ask them to repeal the laws? Now be honest with us, it is now as much New Labour’s legislation as the Tories. What you think, John?

The next point you make is about listening. Well John the EC meeting under your leadership last about 2 hours, you can’t be listening too much to the body that runs the Union between Annual Delegate Meetings. But we will let that one go for present.

In the next paragraph, you ask for ‘a clear mandate to take the Union forward.’ When you were elected to your present post there was only a 14% turnout and you got about 6% of the total membership voting for you. Well that was not much of a mandate. If you are so keen on getting a ‘clear mandate’ then why are you holding the election over the summer when most of the members are on their holidays? Its looks like you are going to get a low turnout, John. So it won’t be much of a mandate again. But we are sure you can live with the low turn-out that if you win.

So now let’s consider your statement ‘whilst other unions are reducing staffing levels I am pleased to advise the Executive Council in May of my intention to build on the increased resources that have already been put in by increasing the staffing levels in the Divisions.’

So what is your record on the number of officials in the Divisions?

According to the 2003 Annual Report, there were 331,972 industrial members and they were serviced by 118 officers. In the last Annual Report 2007, there were 356,046 industrial members and they were serviced by 114 officials. John, there is less staff now, so ‘whilst other unions are reducing staffing’ it looks like you have done the same. You have reduced the number of Full Time Officials while their work load has increased. Do you think they are happy about their extra work? If you do then you have not been listening.

So it’s your ‘intention’ to increase the number of Officials but what happens if the EC does not agree with your strategy. Do you think the Rule Book allows you to override the EC’s rights? Interesting! Would you like to debate these points with us, John!

One of things a ‘listening General Secretary’ should know is most of the members who attend the branches think the EC minutes are a joke. The ADM delegates even instructed the EC to produce more comprehensive minutes. Now is that you listening John?

Now let’s deal with the scaremongering. We will quote the section in full. ‘There is a small minority who wish to take the Union in a different direction and this threat should not be treated lightly and could undermine all we have achieved collectively. Therefore we must guard against complacency.’

So who is this small minority? Are they the ones who disagree with you?

You ask the staff to contact you but what happens if they don’t? Bang goes their chance of promotion, why do they feel like this if you are such a ‘listening General Secretary’. We believe this statement is a form of intimidation and should not be allowed in the trade union movement and certainly not during elections.

So after considering the points in your letter, we have come to the conclusion that the Usdaw staff should support Robbie Segal for General Secretary.

For more information on Robbie’s policies or to join the debate on the future of Usdaw then visit or email

Yours sincerely

Robbie Segal’s supporters

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Manifesto for Usdaw Democracy

Contribution by Robbie Segal

As part of my candidature for General Secretary, I am launching a discussion on democracy in Usdaw.

This manifesto to democratise Usdaw is not a completed document and, I would appreciate your comments or changes to the way the Union works. If you want to participate in the debate then please contact me at either or on my blog

General Secretary Election

As you are most probably aware the letter informing the branches that the General Secretary Election had been called was sent out with an endorsement for John Hannett, the current general secretary. Although individual EC members were asked point blank (I believe that this was intimidating and never gave members the chance to reflect on the question} whether they supported the General Secretary. More importantly no written motion was presented to the meeting and therefore to consider this as an EC endorsement of John Hannett is wrong.

I consider the distributing the endorsement of John Hannett on the same circular that informed branches of the election was a major infringement of the democratic traditions of the trade unions.

I will be proposing that the timing of the any future General Secretary elections will be governed by Rule and not on the whim of the incumbent general secretary. Further the conduct of the election will be decided by guidelines that will be presented to the ADM for endorsement.

Rule 11, Section 1:
The General Secretary shall be elected by a national vote of members by way of a statutory postal ballot as prescribed by the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidations) Act 1992. All branches shall have the right to make nominations. She/he shall remain in office during the will and pleasure of the members who, through the Annual or Special Delegate Meetings, have power to dismiss or call upon her/him to resign.

Executive Council

The EC meets once a month and the meetings last about 2 hours. This time is not adequate to ensure the role of the EC is fulfilled under rule.

Rule 9, section 10:
The Executive Council shall have full control of the business of the Union, and shall have power to do anything not inconsistent with these Rules or the Acts of Parliament under which the Union is certified as an independent trade Union. In the event of any questions arising on which the Rules are silent or obscure, the Executive Council shall have the power to decide thereon.

Minutes of the Executive Council

The minutes circulated to the branches are considered by many members as a joke. A proposition at the 1999 ADM was passed which stated:

I will implement the proposition and ensure that the branches can understand the workings and decisions of the EC. I will publish an account of the major decisions in Arena.

Rule 11, Section 4:
The General Secretary shall be in attendance at all Delegate Meetings and meetings of the Executive Council, and shall keep a correct account of the minutes of the proceedings.

Add at the end of the paragraph, ‘The General Secretary shall provide for publication in Arena a summary of the decisions of Executive Council meetings.’

Control of employment issues

This is interpreted as being that it is the provocative of the general secretary to deal with all employment matters. The Union has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on consultants and the Leap Project. The EC have never had a full report or updates on the spending of this money or the recent Leap Project developments.

Rule 11, Section 15:
The General Secretary shall superintend and direct the work of all employees of the Union.

Add at the end of the paragraph, ‘the General Secretary will make a full written report on all employment matters to the Executive Council every three months.’

Serving on outside organisations

Rule 11, Section 3:
The General Secretary and the Deputy General Secretary shall devote their whole time to the work of the Union, and shall not be eligible to be a Parliamentary Candidate to the United Kingdom, European or Scottish Parliaments or a candidate for the election to the Welsh Assembly whilst continuing on office as General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary.

Add New Rule 11, Section 4.
‘The General Secretary and the Deputy General Secretary shall seek permission from the Executive Council to serve on all outside organisations, and any remuneration other than expenses shall be paid to the Union.’

Renumber all subsequent Sections.

Robbie's Biography

Robbie Segal who is married with 3 children and 2 grandchildren has been an active trade unionist when at the age of 19 alongside other trade unionists she was ‘locked out’ during an industrial dispute with the Express Newspapers. She has continued with her trade union activities in her workplace and through building practical and political support for other workers in struggle.

Robbie was an active and vociferous supporter of the Liverpool councillors, the mineworkers and their wives during the bitter 1984/85 miners strike and then again during the P&O seafarers strike.

She was a leading light in the campaign against the ‘Poll Tax’ and together with her husband Eric, who was jailed for non-payment of the poll tax, she was expelled from the Labour party.

Robbie has worked in Tesco’s for 22 years and has been an active Usdaw shop Steward for 21 years. She has been branch chair and continues to hold the position of branch secretary. She has held many divisional and national positions including chair of the Southern Region women’s committee and is well known for her inspirational speeches at the Annual Delegate Conference.

60% of our members are women and Robbie has been a tireless fighter for women’s issues and in particular those who are experiencing domestic violence. She has campaigned for greater rights and understanding of issues for those members of the union who are lesbian or Gay and for other minorities.

Robbie has served 9 years as a member of the Executive Committee of Usdaw however during that time she has seen power taken from the elected members of the EC and put into the hands of a handful of bureaucrats who undemocratically determine where to spend our members hard earned subscriptions.

Robbie resigned from the national store forum in 2002 over the collusion between the leadership of Usdaw and Tesco senior management in the forcing through of the Tesco partnership agreement. Partnership imposed the draconian sickness policy, the ending of the vote for pay and conditions and the dilution of union involvement in the forums.

Robbie is determined to democratise Usdaw and return it to its members. She believes that Usdaw has huge growth potential with millions of especially young shopworkers looking for a fighting campaigning union. She will campaign for an end to partnership agreements and a return to national free collective bargaining.

Robbie Segal, if elected to the position of General Secretary, rejects the wage and benefits of over £100,000 that John Hannett receives and will take the wage that she earns as a Tesco worker and all necessary expenses will be open to scrutiny by our members.

Nominate Robbie for General Secretary

• Fight for a living wage
• Against partnership
• Fight for trade union democracy
• A General Secretary on a worker’s wage

Dear Usdaw member,
I am asking for your nomination for the position of Usdaw’s general secretary. I have been a trade union member since the age of 19. I have worked for Tesco stores in Folkestone for the past 22 years and I have been an active shop steward for 21 years. I have held senior positions at branch, regional and national levels of USDAW and served on the EC for 9 years.
A Living Wage: I will launch a campaign to fight for a living minimum wage of £8 per hour for all retail workers, from 16 years to retirement age. I will fight to link pensions to earnings.
Yes to National free collective bargaining - No to Partnership: I will re-establish Usdaw as an independent trade union. I will fight to restore our vote on pay and campaign to resist Tesco’s proposed 2% target for absence.
Fight for Union democracy: I will return power to the Union’s elected lay-member Executive Council and ensure proper EC minutes are produced as agreed by ADM.
For a General Secretary on a worker’s wage: I reject the wage and the benefits totalling over £100,000 that John Hannett, the General Secretary, receives and the General Secretary’s Jaguar Car. I will take the wage that I earn as a Tesco worker and all necessary expenses will be open to scrutiny so that any member can check them. The money released will be used to campaign on our members benefit.

Name:Robbie Segal
Trade in which Nominee is employed: Retail
Address:29 Hawkins Road, Folkestone, Kent, CT19 4JA
Occupation:Wages Clerk
Nominee’s Branch:HO84
Present Age:59
Nominee’s Membership Number 00098216
Name and Address of Employer: Tesco Stores Ltd, Cheriton High Street, Folkestone, Kent, CT19 4QJ
The last date for the return of the nomination paper is 14 July 2008
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