The agreement, which encompasses the entire retail sector within Tesco, was signed under the main reason that the union would be able to recruit more members in collaboration with the company. In reality, the agreement is an obstacle to action and calls into question USDAW`s independence from the company. The main reason Tesco proposed this agreement was to stop union activities. So far, it has succeeded in completely halting labour disputes. Heathrow employees will be on strike on 14, 17 and 18 December for redundancy and reinstatement projects… Workers have been stimulated by strikes. The participation rate was 67%, 73% for this. And there was a good atmosphere on the picket line that brought many of the site`s 380 employees together to talk about other topics such as workload, moral harassment and compensation. One worker told the socialist: “We went today for the ridiculous attack on our policy of presence, but it could have been for a whole series of things of which we had a whole series of things. But this strike is a good start. USDAW is the recognized union for workers employed by Tesco; As a result, it has the largest recognition agreement in the private sector and more than 160,000 (more than a third) of its members work for Tesco.
Other companies that have signed partnership agreements with USDAW are Morrisons, Sainsbury`s, The Co-operative Group, Primark, Asda, Argos and Boots. For these reasons, we need a wrestling union, considered totally independent of the company. USDAW must abandon the partnership agreement with Tesco and start fighting, as our colleagues in Dagenham have done. USDAW is the recognized union in sainsbury`s` huge distribution centre in Sherburn-in Elmet, Leeds. They were voluntarily recognized almost five years ago when the site opened. In return for the recognition, the USDAW agreed to disable the 10-hour night shift limit for road drivers, which led truck drivers to work too long at night. USDAW also signed the right to strike for all Workers in Sherburn. The distribution centre stores a significant proportion of the daily stocks delivered to supermarkets in east London and the south-east. Before the strike, most of the stock had to be transferred to nearby distribution centres to be put in cages that can be delivered to supermarkets. Staff at the Dagenham Tesco distribution centre are on strike.
This is a big step forward for members of the USDAW union at Tesco, who rarely see strike action. The main trade unionist and organizer of this dispute told me that in 29 years as a Tesco worker, he did not remember the strikes within the company. And while it is organized beyond retail, the most important supermarkets are at the heart of Usdaw`s membership. Indeed, it is essentially based on four collective agreements with major supermarket chains, which account for two-thirds of Usdaw`s total membership: the Co-op (40,000 members), Morrisons (46,000), Sainsbury`s (32,000) and the jewel in the union crown, Tesco, where the union has 170,000 members and the largest BRITISH collective agreement for the private sector.