Monday, 16 June 2008

Notes of a Shop Worker

This is a letter that appeared in last weeks The Socialist. Part of the reason why I'm posting it is that it gives me the opportunity to plug The Activist (blog of Socialist Party members in USDAW - see links) and the new Robbie Segal for General Secretary blog - the articles on both a pretty good.

I haven't been in my job all that long, but you can feel the discontent amongst the people I work with. Their main complaint is understaffing – there are never enough people working to do the job properly – which stresses us all out. In my department we cook and serve food, and the company has not too long ago launched a big drive on food hygiene. The problem being that all this training is rendered meaningless by the understaffing which means we can’t properly carry out all we’ve learnt. The company say that the understaffing is due to their high staff turnover, but of course this is the case when they only pay us the pitiful minimum wage and expect us to do so much. That said, even if they had more staff, we’d still be understaffed as that way they can squeeze more profit out of us.
Instead, what we need is the nationalisation of the major supermarket chains under the control of the workers so we can implement humane working conditions with a better wage that would benefit staff and customers alike.


Phil BC said...

Cheers for The Activist link. Always good to see more SP comrades at the blogging coalface!

landsker said...

Interesting "goal", that of nationalisation.
However, there are thousands of small/ "one man band" retailers and business people who would not be happy in a nationalised food chain.
After nationalising the food chain, what next, farmland and homes?
The first question of course is "Who is the leader?", and the second question is "Why?".
By not shopping with the corporate world, whenever possible, we can erode their cashflow, and thus drive them into extinction.
Every pound spent at an independent retailer/producer drains the lifeblood of the corporate world. Discretionary spending is, IMHO, a
potent force .

Leftwing Criminologist said...

firstly I'm calling for nationalisation of the major supermarket chains - not every corner shop etc. I'm talking about Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury's Iceland, Aldi, Netto, Lidl, Marks & Spencers etc.

secondly - what you are suggesting is a boycott of all major supermarkets effectively forever - how would this work - you would have to convince the majority of the population to do this. and this would also hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs. And are people going to pay twice as much in corner shops etc. than in supermarkets - it think not, they simply cannot afford to (I know I can't afford to).

A boycott would work in an isolated situation that the majority of people opposed - ie. if one of these chains were suddenly revealed to be exploiting child labour in india etc. but it is not a permanent weapon.