Thursday, 30 April 2009

Retail and Distribution Activist no 17

Bulletin of Socialist Party members working in retail and distribution
March 2009

Usdaw Activist Public Meeting

· Do the Usdaw leaders have the strategy to defend members in the recession?
· Come along and discuss where next for the campaign to change Usdaw into a Union that fights for its members

4 April, 11am-3pm,
Exmouth Arms, Starcross Street,
near Euston station, London

Join the Struggle – Against the Rich
G 20 demo –
“8th April, the Demo leaves the Embankment at 12.00
Youth Fight for Jobs
Starts on 2 April and is passing through London’s highest areas of unemployment and end at the ExCel Centre where the rich countries leaders are meeting. If you want to know more ring 02085587947

The Credit Crunch and Poverty

The economic crisis has pushed a further 60 million people into absolute poverty which means living on less than $1 a day. This will mean that over an extra one million children will die prematurely. The world’s governments have provided millions of pounds to save the banks but have never provided even a small fraction of this sum to save the starving children of the world.
The Activist and the supporters of the Socialist Party believe that the failure to solve the problems faced by the world even in the good times shows that the capitalism is a bankrupt system. In the long term, unless we rid ourselves of these parasites, more and more people will slip into the poverty trap,

Billionaire Crisis

OK, So you may have lost your job, are hopelessly in dept and are having your house repossessed as a result of the capitalist economic. But spare a thought for the real losers – those pinnacles of society. According to Forbes magazine, the world’s billionaires have, on average, lost a quarter of their wealth – some £2 trillion – due to the financial meltdown and developing recession. In fact, things are so bad that 335 of last year’s billionaires have been regulated to the ranks of the mere millionaires.
How will US speculator Warren Buffet pay hie electricity and gas bills after his wealth dropped from $41 billion last year to just $24 billion today? And how will the Russian oligarch and Chelsea FC sugar-daddy, Roman Abramovich, afford his season ticket now that his bank balance has shrunk from !^ billion to less than £6 billion.
If any reader would like to assist in the rehabilitation of these tragic victims of capitalist greed – through socialist expropriation.

Campaigning to Save the Post Office and the £500,000 donation to New Labour

Usdaw has just donated £500,000 to New Labour. Our members are asking why are we handing over the cash and we get nothing in return.
In the last edition of the Activist, we called for Usdaw members to support the campaign against New Labour’s plans to part-privatise the Post Office. At a meeting between the trade unions and New Labour at the Warwick University in 2008, Labour promised to keep the Post Office in the public Sector. Now they are willing to sell part of it off. We hope that when Usdaw’s leaders handed over our money, John Hannett mentioned to Brown of his Post Office commitment.
John Hannett, along with other trade union leaders, signed a protest letter to the Guardian (26.2.09). The letter is interesting because it shows the bankruptcy of New Labour and how they serve the interests of big business rather the working people. We print extracts of the letter below.
‘Within that Warwick agreement was a clear commitment to maintaining Royal Mail in the public sector: "We have set out a vision of a wholly publicly owned, integrated Royal Mail group in good health providing customers with an excellent service and its employees with rewarding employment."
This commitment was agreed by all affiliated trade unions in the belief that it guaranteed the future of Royal Mail as "wholly publicly owned". This was our belief in the summer, and it was the belief of the 2008 Labour party conference, which voted to support this policy.
We are deeply concerned that the Labour party now appears to be willing to break that commitment by adopting the recommendations of the Hooper report. Its proposals to bring in a "strategic partner", via an exchange of equity, clearly constitutes the part privatisation of Royal Mail.
The affiliated trade unions believe that the part-privatisation of Royal Mail is electorally unpopular, politically unwise and damaging to the concept of universal service provision. Furthermore, to break a pledge so recently made undermines the legitimacy of our policy process and raises questions about the validity of other agreements reached.
We are unanimous in our opposition to the proposed privatisation of Royal Mail, and ask that the government reconsiders its response before it becomes a dividing line within our movement.

The New Labour government has announced plans to part privatise the Post Office. In a recent survey, nine out of every 10 people oppose its privatisation.
The CWU, the post office workers’ union, has launched a campaign against the government's intention to privatise Royal Mail. They are calling for people to sign their petition opposing privatisation at:

Letters to the Activist

Dear Activist,
As a shop worker on £6 an hour, I earn £240 a week and that makes a yearly income of £12,480. So if I earn the same wage for the next ten years, I would have received £124,800 and in a lifetime of work (50 years) the grand total will reach £624,000.
I will earn £624,000 over a lifetime and one parasite banker will get a yearly pension of £693,000. The politicians say there is nothing to be done. He has a contract. They can nationalise bankrupt banks and I say let’s nationalise Godwin and share out his wealth.
A Scottish Usdaw member

The Activist: Well it is not only bankers who have fabulous pensions, even our own Terry Leahy, the Tesco boss, has £10 million in his pension pot and that will give him £710,000 a year. But don’t feel too sorry for him as he earned £2.4 million last year.

Dear Activist
Today, I heard Mr. Gordon Brown on a question & answer programme on BBC RADIO 4 today circa 12.30 hours. He was challenged by a number of people really fed up as they were just coming up or reached retirement and when they got told what Pension they were about to receive, it was way short of what they had planned for. In fact one person said that he could not now afford to retire on what he was quoted, typical Mr. Brown sidestepped the answer. This is just disgusting in my opinion, & I have found when recruiting for USDAW, people ARE BEING FORCED BACK TO WORK SO THEY CAN PAY THEIR EVER INCREASING BILLS.
Good luck in your news letter,

Derrick Frost,
VERY angry retired USDAW member!!

Dear Activist,

As I was walking to do the local shops I passed the recently closed Woolworths. The shutters were down and the doors shut. It had been a regular shop to visit in our high street since I was a boy. Now it is gone and I am sure it won’t be the last store to close.
As I turn the corner, there are more empty shops and along with the post office they are all boarded up. My next stop was my bank. All my working life, I have called for the nationalisation of the banks. Now I own it. Alas the Government have left it in the hands of the same lot of criminals that ruined it before.
Clearly, the New Labour government pose no threat to the power of the rich. If the ruling class were really concerned then they would be clamouring for their removal.
I see you are calling for nationalisation under workers’ control and management. Well done and keep up the good work. Robbie got my vote.

Yours fraternally
A retired retail worker

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