Workers in Tesco have sent a clear message to the company and their union Mandate: Tesco Workers want real pay increases. 88% voted NO to a deal which would have seen premium payments axed and pay cuts for many workers. A disgraceful deal for those who put their lives on the line during the pandemic.
See last month’s article one Mandate members and Tesco worker asked us to post here: https://www.pbp.ie/tesco-mandate-deal-is-bad-for-workers/
This 88 NO vote shows how disconnected from reality leaders in this union are from Tesco workers. Working people with real lives need stability, higher pay, safe pensions and a democratic union which respects them.
Mandate went behind closed doors to stitch up their ‘Tesco Express’ deal: giving an 11% increase for all with one hand, but taking much more. Workers were furious. To be axed in this deal were Sunday premiums payments, defined benefits pensions, and more.
And how they did it made workers even angrier. They excluded workers from negotiations, avoiding any large meetings of workers and apparently brought workers in closed spaces to vote in groups of twos and threes – techniques generally seen from the other side: the union busters.
Despite all this workers rallied together forming Facebook groups and using WhatsApp to build real democratic spaces where they could talk and discuss how to beat the bosses. And they DID. 88% is an overwhelming win for workers and shows Tesco workers can win even bigger.
What can be done? Workers should call for a mass meeting of Tesco Mandate workers to mount a call for a real 11% increase. They should demand that representatives directly elected by the worker should lead the negotiations.
Our view in People Before Profit is simple
1. Keep doing what won this fight! Communicate outside and inside your union. Get organised to make sure your voice is heard in your union. Demand you are represented by workers you elect. Demand a mass online meeting of Tesco workers now.
2. Partnership with the employer is a loser, a slow loser. You don’t have to be friends with the boss. If you are you get paid less and generally work more. Partnership deals make it easier for the union leaders but it means you can’t fight and win. It gives the employer all the power.
3. Get organised to take on the bureaucracy in your union. They are out of touch. We need workers who are prepared to fight leading our unions.
It’s a disgrace that frontline workers like those in Tesco have to fight not just the boss but their union too. We say congratulations on defeating this deal but keep organising. Build power for workers in your union and never let the union officials make a deal behind your back again. Fight for decent pay and for your union. It’s not theirs, it’s yours.