Appeal to warehouse and distribution reps

July 5th, 2008

Appeal to warehouse and distribution reps

Dear Usdaw member,

This letter is an appeal for an honest and open debate on the issues that faces our members and Union. The General Secretary has seen fit to call a snap election over the summer period in an attempt to wrong foot any opposition. By the time you receive my programme for the GS election many branch meetings will be over. Therefore, branch members will not have the opportunity to consider my, and any other candidate’s, policies. I believe the way this election has been called is against the best traditions of the trade union movement.

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. Already there are cutbacks on staffing levels in many stores and in the distribution centres the bosses will look to make saving. As a union we must prepare to fight these attacks on our wages and conditions.

Many of the centres with the best contracts have seen their conditions attacked or have closed. New distribution centres are opening and the leaders of our union are accepting management demands to worsen our conditions. In the established sites redundancy is a way of life leading to many of our members accepting the money and leaving because the union leaders refuse to fight. 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.

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. Distribution and Warehouse sites are an important part of our Union. 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 number of warehouse and distribution members I will appoint a dedicated Area Organiser. I believe the Union should be handed back to the members.

Appeal to warehouse and distribution reps


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