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: firstname.lastname@example.org