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From: The Socialist issue 1150, 6 October 2021: Make the bosses pay, not the workers

Search site for keywords: Tesco - Union - Workers - Socialist Party - Socialist - Usdaw

Victimised Tesco warehouse rep fighting for reinstatement

  (Click to enlarge)

An Usdaw rep at a Tesco warehouse who is also a Socialist Party member has been wrongfully dismissed for organising in his workplace, both on the shopfloor and in his union branch, of which he was recently elected secretary.

The cover for this clear example of harassment and victimisation, comes from multiple trumped up warnings layered on each other. He was not let go for gross misconduct; rather the case for this politically motivated sacking rests on being falsely accused of theft, then given a final written warning due to lack of evidence for something that should, if proven, result in instant dismissal. But it was clear management would lose if they went to tribunal.

He went on to win a harassment grievance against his line manager but the ruling was upheld regardless, and his final written warning was then used to attempt to keep him on eggshells and hinder trade union activities.

Recently he helped a pregnant co-worker change her forklift battery, and in doing so received an electrical burn due to system faults consistently ignored by management. He put in a claim through the union which was dismissed for alleged falsification of injury, even though he provided photo evidence of it, and his first aider gave a statement clarifying that he had indeed suffered this injury.

He was given another warning for this which tipped his final written warning over into a dismissal.

The past victories of Usdaw in the depot include a pushback on unsafe business practices, of which this rep played an active role in organising, alongside building a mass grievance in relation to Covid safety and performance, as well as encouraging workers to cite Section 44 to combat these attacks through the union.

Often what would not even pass in court passes in the meetings of managers against workers. This rep is adamant that he will take his case to court, with the union and the Socialist Party behind him. A union branch meeting has been called at the depot and the support of fellow workers is growing.

This attack comes at a time when Tesco is in freefall, the crisis of worker retention, stagnant wages, and health and safety issues in the job have all culminated in workers leaving the company. In this depot alone people leave every other week.

The Socialist Party stands with the rep in his fight for reinstatement.

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Article dated 6 October 2021

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