Wide screen devices may view this page better by clicking here

23 October 2019

Facebook   Twitter

Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Asda contracts: Vital that GMB mobilises for industrial action

GMB union members protest outside Asda in South Shields, photo Elaine Brunskill

GMB union members protest outside Asda in South Shields, photo Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

Iain Dalton, Socialist Party West Yorkshire organiser

About 400 hundred Asda workers and members of the GMB union marched defiantly through Leeds on 16 October, angry at the company's plans to sack staff members that hadn't signed up to the company's 'Contract 6'- with its unacceptable working conditions - by a 2 November deadline.

Unfortunately, this demo passing Asda house in Leeds (the third to date) was smaller than the previous one back in August. It reflects the fact that many workers had signed the contract, feeling that the alternative of losing their job was far worse.

While the GMB has done more to mobilise its members in Asda than other unions in retail have done when companies have been attempting to impose contract changes, much of this has been too little, too late.

Although GMB general secretary Tim Roache made fiery announcements that the union would never accept workers being transferred onto Contract 6 and - following security being beefed up around Asda House for this protest - that he was prepared to be arrested, other parts of his speech told a different story.

He explained how he'd personally agreed to 'Your Choice' the forerunner to Contract 6 being introduced on the basis of it being voluntary for staff to move onto it - in effect that the collective bargaining of the union had been abandoned for each member to fend for themselves.

As multi-tier contract situations elsewhere in retail have ended up with workers eventually being forced onto the worst one by companies, did he really expect Asda would act any differently?

He said the GMB would fight through legal channels for those who wouldn't sign the new contract, but did that mean he saw no alternative way to stop the sackings?

He also said that this isn't the end of the campaign and that GMB is starting "phase two" to get workplace union density up to 50%.

But the best way to achieve this is to prove the union is prepared to fight. The failure to escalate action beyond protests and prepare for strike action will mean many workers questioning the unions resolve to stand up to Asda management.

On the demo Socialist Party members distributed a leaflet arguing for a strategy to build for such action, even at this late stage.

Way forward

Workers agreed with us that this would be the only way forward, especially when we raised the question of 'disaggregating' the ballot - which could mean more densely unionised stores, some of which still have 80% of affected staff refusing to sign up to the new contract, could take action which would shake Asda management.

If this was tied to demands such as a £12-an-hour minimum wage, these demands could draw into the struggle those workers who had already signed up to contract six under pressure, or new starters who start on it.

If, on the other hand, the struggle isn't escalated and the sackings take place following the November deadline, Asda management will pursue further attacks in the future.

Union reps and workers in Asda need to learn the lessons of this struggle, particularly the need for a serious strategy to mobilise for industrial action as the best way to defeat such attacks.

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.

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: 

 


In The Socialist 23 October 2019:


What we think

General election is the real 'people's vote'

CWU vote for strike will boost confidence to fight back


News

Boot out Boris and his bosses' deal. General election now!

"I need to get to work! I need to feed my kids!"

Rail report into death of Cardiff Socialist Party member

Boot racism out of football - reclaim the game!

Enfield North Labour Party: Defend local democracy


Minimum wage

Minimum wage: What should we be demanding?


Workplace news

Uniting workers and public to fight the cuts: Interview with Jared Wood - candidate for RMT union executive

Marion Lloyd for PCS union general secretary

Asda contracts: Vital that GMB mobilises for industrial action

NEU members strike against sixth-form funding cuts

Bradford: Workers walk out over council cuts

Workplace news in brief


Chinese revolution

China at the crossroads: 70 years since the declaration of the People's Republic of China


International socialist news and analysis

Catalonia: Draconian prison sentences of independence leaders provokes mass protests and strikes

Chile: An outpouring of rage against the capitalist system

Solidarity with the Kurdish people

Massive protests against Lebanon's corrupt elite


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Join the party that dares to fight for socialism

Packed labour movement service a fitting farewell to Tony Mulhearn

Socialism 2019: Join us for a festival of ideas

Burnt-out Barking residents picket builders' sales day

Which way forward for the working people and youth of Nigeria?

Posties speak at Basingstoke Socialist Party public meeting

Socialists attract support at first Newton Abbot meeting


Letters

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 October 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Asda:

triangleAsda equal pay ruling victory - now fight for equal pay for all

triangleAsda workers protest callous bosses

triangleAsda protests

triangleAsda workers protest against worse contract

triangleWhat strategy can end the retail jobs massacre?

GMB:

triangleSandwell Leisure workers: No to 'fire and rehire'

triangleFight back against British Gas bosses' 'fire and rehire' offensive

triangleGMB general secretary election: A fighting, socialist leadership needed

triangleNew British Gas deadline and strike dates

Workers:

triangleWeetabix - workers have had enough

triangleSolidarity to the striking workers at Charité and Vivantes hospitals in Berlin

triangleClick here for a report. Speakers included: Sharon Graham - newly-elected Unite gen sec; Sarah Woolley - BFAWU gen sec; Carmel Gates - Nipsa gen sec (designate); Joe Simpson - POA deputy gen sec; Joe Kirby - RMT NEC & offshore worker

Union:

triangleCarmarthenshire Unison: 'Recognise our union!'

triangleOaks Park school: Redbridge Labour council backs strike-breaking bullies

Article dated 23 October 2019

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

MEMBER RESOURCES

Pay in Fighting Fund

Pay in paper and book sales

Leaflets

Bulk book orders

New member submission

WHAT'S ON

triangle21 Sep Caerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: Arguments against socialism - Ask, answer, debate

triangle22 Sep Hackney & Islington Socialist Party: Council budgets & People's Budgets

triangle22 Sep Southampton Socialist Party: United struggle against racism and oppression

More...


The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party

What we think

News

Climate change

Youth and students

Workplace news

NHS

Campaigns

Review

Subscribespacer|spacerebook / Kindlespacer|spacerPDF versionspacer|spacerText / Printspacer|spacer1147 onlinespacer|spacerBack issuesspacer|spacer Audio files


NSSN rally, September 2021

Click here for a report. Speakers included: Sharon Graham - newly-elected Unite gen sec; Sarah Woolley - BFAWU gen sec; Carmel Gates - Nipsa gen sec (designate); Joe Simpson - POA deputy gen sec; Joe Kirby - RMT NEC & offshore worker

What We Stand For
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Platform setting: =

Desktop version