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Paddy Lillis addresses the Co-op Party conference: Our shared history and values are the foundation of our future campaigns

Date: 14 October 2018 Shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis has today addressed the annual conference of the Co-operative Party, taking place in Bristol.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary said: “I’m proud that my union isn’t just active in the Co-op movement, we’re firmly rooted in it. Only a few years after the Rochdale Pioneers founded the Co-operative Movement, the Manchester and District Co-operative Employees Association came to be, which, alongside others, developed into today’s Usdaw.
“From those shared roots, we’ve grown with the Co-op movement. This is why I am proud that we have taken the next step in our relationship with the Co-op Party this year and formally affiliated.
“I want to say thank you, on behalf of our members, to all of you in the Co-op Party that have campaigned alongside us. A key campaign for Usdaw has for a long time been Freedom From Fear. Too many of our members and other retail workers experience abuse on a daily basis in the workplace with over 260 facing violence every day just for doing their jobs.
“This is why we have been campaigning for strengthened legal protections for retail workers, who are often at their most vulnerable when protecting their local communities, by preventing the illegal sales of knives, alcohol and other age restricted products.
“This is such an important issue for our members, which is why I am grateful to have the Co-op Party campaigning with us to tackle this problem. Alex Norris, a Labour and Co-operative MP, has raised this very issue in Westminster; and both Usdaw and The Co-op Party have been working to support Daniel Johnson MSP to deliver Protection of Workers legislation in Scotland.
“The past week has seen Usdaw and the Co-op Party stood shoulder to shoulder,
campaigning to amend the Offensive Weapons Bill. Not because we think it is a bad piece of legislation; but because we believe that it can go much further in protecting our communities, and in protecting the workers who will be enforcing the new laws.
“I hope that these shared values, and a joint commitment to campaigns that improve people’s lives, will provide the foundation on which we can build a closer relationship, through our new affiliation.”
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.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers