Today workers from all over the world play an important role in retail, warehouse and distribution, and food manufacture. Many international trade unionists are playing a crucial role in our union but we still have the task of ensuring that all migrant workers are part of our movement.
How do we recruit migrant workers into the trade unions? Their recruitment is one of the major challenges facing the trade unions today. If outside of the trade unions, the 5.4% of all UK employees who are migrant workers are a gift to the employers to lower wages and conditions of all workers.
Usdaw recognises that employers are using ‘migrant workers as a cheap labour option’ and that ‘agencies often undercut the permanent workforce by compelling temporary agency workers to work for lower pay, terms and conditions.’
There are over two and half million retail workers not in unions, so for the unions to gain the confidence of low paid workers and migrant workers then there must be a serious commitment to winning decent wages. The unions should launch an extensive campaign of agitation to win retail workers to possible strike action and to ensure the bosses know the unions are really serious this time about fighting for a decent wage.
The companies we work for can afford it. Tesco has just announced $2.85 billion profit last year. And this just four years after breaking through the £2 billion barrier and eight years after reaching £1 billion profit. Yet, our members earn little more than the £5.52 minimum wage -. The starting salary with Tesco is £5.92.
Three of the four largest unions Usdaw, GMB and Unite (TGWU) all have agreements with the big four retailers. They should organise a joint national campaign to increase the wages for all retail workers. This method will show we fight for all workers including migrant workers.
These low wages has been accepted by our union for far too long. Join Usdaw and join the struggle for a £8 per hour minimum.
Vote Robbie Segal for General Secretary.