Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“The retail sector is going through a very challenging period and that is having an obvious impact on our members. It is a mixed picture of winners and losers, but we are seeing an alarming number of store closures, with some businesses ceasing to trade, going into administration or seeking ‘company voluntary arrangements’ in an attempt to survive, with many retailers feeling the need to restructure their staffing.
“It is very striking that the vast majority of retail staff impacted by the current difficulties are not trade union members and their companies do not recognise Usdaw. We have long-running recognition campaigns in M&S, Lidl and Aldi and remain deeply disappointed that they refuse to engage with us.
“Staff are being left without an effective voice in the future of their jobs and the businesses they work in. Retailers must listen to their staff and that is best done with the support of an independent trade union. To be successful, retailers need to invest in well-rewarded, fully trained staff who are respected and valued. I urge all companies to allow their staff to be properly represented by a trade union to ensure they are treated with dignity and fairness.
“I am delighted to be starting in my new role today, fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead. The work that my predecessor John Hannett and I did over the last fourteen years puts the union in a strong position to meet those challenges and I welcome Dave McCrossen to the leadership team to continue Usdaw’s efforts to improve workers’ lives and deliver for our members.
“We have a fantastic team of workplace reps, activists and staff who do a great job of representing our members and their work is crucial in supporting me in taking Usdaw from strength to strength.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with around 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
has been Usdaw’s Deputy General Secretary for the last 14 years. He was first appointed to the union’s staff in 1989 as an Area Organiser in the Bristol office. Paddy was promoted in 1997 to Divisional Officer in charge of the South Wales and Western division, based in Cardiff. Paddy had worked as a heavy goods driver for Abbey Meat Packers Ltd in Newtonabbey, County Antrim. He began working for the company in 1978 and joined Usdaw the same year.
has been Usdaw’s Divisional Officer in the Eastern division for the last five years, before that he was the Deputy Divisional Officer based at the Waltham Cross Office. He was first appointed to the union’s staff in 1989 as an Area Organiser working in Faversham. Dave had worked in the motor trade section of the Co-operative Retail Society, based in Newmarket.
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