The Workers Party of Britain celebrates the refusal of Tesco lorry drivers and warehouse staff to accept an insulting below-inflation pay offer from management.
The workers so far taking this stand are based at four Tesco distribution centres: Belfast, Didcot, Doncaster and Thurrock. Tesco, which last year made a profit of over £3 billion, is trying to palm workers off with a “rise” of 2.5%. With inflation currently standing at 4.8%, you don’t need to be a statistician to see that this “rise” is in reality a huge pay cut.
Companies like Tesco have for years got away with offering their workers inferior pay and conditions, safe in the knowledge that a ready supply of cheap labour from eastern Europe was on hand to keep wages low. After Brexit, however, the flow of migration from the east has changed direction, ending this hidden subsidy and strengthening workers’ hand in the labour market.
Employers like Tesco still want to carry on as before, expecting the workforce to carry on doing their arduous and stressful work on the same artificially depressed wages and conditions, in spite of labour shortages. But workers at Tesco, Yodel and elsewhere are grabbing the chance to put matters right and make up for years of seeing their hard work undervalued. They are right to do so, and deserve the support of workers everywhere.