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(en) UK, Walthamstow Anarchist UNDERDOG #9 - Tesco - every little helps*, THE UNDERDOG'S Survival Guide - Fighting back at work

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 2 Jul 2004 10:03:15 +0200 (CEST)


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The Walthamstow Anarchist Group held a
successful demostration outside the Tesco
store at Bakers Arms recently in response
to the company announcing a trialed
reducion in sick pay benefits. Staff and
shoppers alike were very supportive of the
demonstration which saw about 1000 leaf-
lets detailing the sutuation distributed.
Not happy with making &4.4 million
profit A DAY out of staff and shoppers,
greedy bosses at Tesco have decided to
trial this scheme of cutting sick
pay for staff for the first 3 days they are
off. Sickness of 4 days or more will require
a doctors note. One elderly Walthamstow
grandmother handed a leaflet summed it
all up: "The greedy bastards".
This scheme is being trialed in 10 existing
stores and 10 new ones over the next 12
months, on a "voluntary" basis (and we all
know what voluntary means in this sort of
situation). Tesco staff in other stores - don't
assume that you are safe from it. If the trial
works for them then bosses will undoubt-
edly attempt to introduce the scheme to
all stores. This is bad news not just for Tesco
staff but for all of us. Tesco are one of the
UK's largest private sector employers, with
almost 1/4 million staff. If they bring in this
measure permanently it will be a green light
for all other private sector employers to
follow suit.
That a food retailer is pioneering a
policy of forcing staff to come in and
serve shoppers when they are ill
speaks volumes about what they think
of health and safety and the
wellbeing of us all.
Staff - organise to take action against
this measure. Strikes, go-slows and mass
sickies will see the back of it.
Shoppers - hit them where it hurts. Take
your money elsewhere until this trial is
abandoned. And give them back your loy-
alty card - they obviously don't understand
the meaning of the word.
---------------------
(* increase our &1.7 billion profits)

=========================
THE UNDERDOG'S Survival Guide Fighting back at work
Work is exploitative. Bosses always try to
squeeze as much out of workers as they
can while giving back as little as possible.
In order to do this they need to remain in
control of the workforce. Here are a few
suggested do's and dont's to help shift the
balance of power back in your favour.
DON'T rely on legislation to protect you
from victimisation. While you can use the
law to your advantage in some cases, the
reality is that many bosses know that they
can ignore or bypass this legislation when
they want. Knowing your rights can be an
important part of showing you mean busi-
ness, but it is no substitute for organizing
together with your workmates (The TUC
Website has basic up-to-date information
about your rights www.worksmart.org.uk)
DO start by talking to the workmates you
can trust. You may need to meet together
first outside of work to avoid management
getting wind of what you are doing.
DO consider distributing information to
other workers (anonymous or otherwise)
to get them thinking about standing up
for themselves. This could raise issues such
as health and safety, pay and conditions
or bullying.

DO stick by your workmates and defend
each other together: Basic solidarity is still
the most effective and vital way of standing
up to your boss.

DO use the threat of collective action - go
slows, strikes, overtime bans - to force
your boss to act. Any interference with
profits will make bosses take notice.

DO beware of full-time union officials. Their
job is to make decisions based on what the
union solicitors say, not on what is best for
workers. Union reps are a mixed bag. Some
are in the bosses pocket, some are up for
fighting back. Don't make the mistake of
assuming they are on your side.
Do create a culture of resistance and re-
bellion at work. More and more manage-
ment tasks are now given to workers to
pursuade them to keep things running
smoothly themselves. Reject this. Act col-
lectively with workmates. Don't let the
boss `divide and rule'.
Don't accept management attempts to
keep any problems people have at work
private. This is how they isolate us. En-
courage people to discuss their workplace
problems with each other. Create a cul-
ture of openness amongst workers.
DON'T let political parties or politicians
come along and tell you what to think or
do. Local organisations including us at The
Underdog can work alongside you and give
you practical support.
---------------------------------------

Discuss with us...
We have an online discussion forum
at: www.enrager.net/forums
Click on Walthamstow Anarchist
Groupand contribute freely :o)


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