Monday, 19 January 2009

Vote Robbie (Robina) Segal For President

Tens of thousands of retail workers are being laid off. These workers are facing a bleak future, many of whom have been working on low wages for the big retail companies for years. Woolworths is now closed, yet all those workers are getting is the statutory redundancy payments of less than a few hundred pounds.
Gordon Brown is promising schemes to create new jobs. But what will these jobs be like? Will they be on decent wages with good working conditions and pensions, or will this be another New Labour gimmick?
Woolworths and other retail workers deserve better than empty promises from Gordon Brown, after all our union Usdaw subsidises New Labour to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds every year.
All companies threatening redundancies should be nationalised but under democratic workers’ control and management. We should open the books and find out where all the profits have gone – profits made by the workers.
I am standing for election to become president of Usdaw because our union needs to be a fighting union, we should be building a mass campaign against job losses but also demanding a minimum wage of £8 an hour without exceptions. The union should be taking workers' wages and conditions forward, not watching them go backwards.
And why are mainly female and part-time shop workers treated as if they are only earning pin money by the trade union leaders? It is time for all shop workers to get active to build Usdaw as a democratic and independent campaigning trade union.
I have been a trade unionist since the age of 19, a Tesco union rep for 21 years, and a member of the Usdaw executive Council for nine years.The election runs from 19 January to 13 February.

Robbie Segal

Saturday, 17 January 2009

New Year Greetings From Robbie (Robina) Segal (Usdaw President Candidate)

Dear Sisters and Brothers

Unfortunately, 2009 will be one of the hardest years faced by retail workers for decades. During my campaign for Usdaw’s general secretary, I said that what was at stake was the future direction of the union. My socialist message received 40% of the vote. If the election had taken place today, I am sure the bankruptcy of the present leadership’s policies - as shown by their response to the economic crisis - would have given me even more votes.
My warning that there needed to be a change of attitude because the union would not be ready to face the challenges of the impending economic crisis has proven correct. It is clear from recent reports that two of the major UK banks came within hours of collapse and New Labour came to their rescue and the tax payer paid the bill. Our members have contributed millions to save the banks and yet when our jobs are threatened there is no help for us. What is needed is a militant programme of action which includes: demonstrations, lobbying the government, occupations of the stores and workplaces, and the nationalisation of the major retailers. The trade unions have been silent, Usdaw must demand at the TUC that a progamme of coordinated action be planned which must include one day stoppages.
John Hannett and the policies of Usdaw leaders’ have been tested with their response to the Woolworth closure. They have failed.I ask you to help mobilise your members in the President and EC elections to ensure they vote for candidates who want change. Have a good new year but let us make 2009 the year that Usdaw starts the fight back.

Robbie (Robina) Segal