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The Black Friday Wal-Mart Strikes: An Analysis

Friday the 23rd of November will see Wal-Mart, which owns UK chain ASDA and which has an entirely non-union workforce, hit with coordinated strikes and protests.  The date of these strikes is not arbitrary.  It's “Black Friday”, the busiest shopping day of the year in the US. 

This article, written by a American-born SolFedder who's worked retail in the past, seeks to explore the strikes: their roots and their implications for the American working class.

Asda hit by anti-workfare picket in Liverpool

On Saturday 16th June, members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation, along with members of the Anarchist Federation and local unaffiliated activists, held a picket of the Asda store on Smithdown Road in Wavertree as part of a series of actions to protest against and to raise awareness of Asda’s use of workfare.

The picket began at the main entrance, at the opposite end of the store to Smithdown Road. This entrance gets the most foot traffic as the trolleys and car park are adjacent. We began to hand out leaflets and engage with customers. Security and management stood in the doorway of the store but did not challenge us. After no more than five minutes, two police cars and full van arrived and officers immediately surrounded the picket and began hassling individual picketers, ordering some to remove masks and hoods.

Combating workfare in Liverpool (31/3/2012)

Members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation were joined on pickets by other activists today as part of the Solfed national day of action against workfare. We distributed around 800 leaflets across three sites. Our first target was an ASDA store in Wavertree before returning to the city centre in order to target two branches of Holland and Barrett.

As we began our ASDA protest the Police were already in attendance, but after we answered ‘no’ to their fiendishly subtle question, “Are you lot here to cause a disturbance”, they generally left us alone. That was until the store manager and several security staff came out in an attempt to intimidate us. Some of the security staff actually physically pushed customers out of our way to prevent us giving them our leaflets.

Tesco - sick pay targetted

Unfortunately, management apparently haven't realised yet that people can.t be bullied into being well.

Despite the headline in the last Catalyst, Tesco carries on oppressing its workers regardless! The recent moves by Tesco to axe sick pay heralds the beginning of yet another attack on workers. rights. Tesco makes £4.4 million profit every day, yet the bosses have decided this isn't enough, and they are axing sick pay in some stores, and testing other schemes to stamp out the ‘sickie' once and for all. Where Britain's biggest retailer leads, others are expected to follow, and worse still, the shopworkers union, USDAW, which represents about half of Tesco's 220,000 workers, is co-operating with the plan.

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Solidarity Federation