SNP Twitter comment 'patronising' to supermarket workers - union official

A Glasgow SNP branch has deleted a tweet mocking Labour's Paul Sweeney for drawing on experience from the frontline of supply chains.


Sweeney had made the point that he had seen first hand how fragile fruit and vegetable supply chains could be whilst working in a supermarket.

Many of the fruits and vegetables British shoppers buy all year round are transported efficiently from other European countries.


Some have feared that extended delays in the chaos of a no deal Brexit could mean supermarkets struggle to fill their shelves with perishable goods.

The local SNP branch in Sweeney's constituency appeared to mock his knowledge and him drawing on real life experiences prior to entering politics.


Sweeney Tweeted in response: "Telling to see what the local SNP view is of insight from former @UsdawUnion supermarket workers in Parliament, saying what a No Deal Brexit could do to our food supplies."


Richie Venton, Usdaw national executive council member for Scotland told The Red Robin he thought the tweet was patronising and offensive. 

" I am not an advocate of either Labour nor the SNP, but as a retail worker and elected local and national union representative in Usdaw – the main retail workers’ union – I find the Maryhill & Springburn SNP twitter comment patronising and offensive towards the workers I represent.

"It implies experience as a supermarket assistant is of little or no value to the political debates about our future.

"For far too long, a common attitude is that retail work is not “a real job”, merely a temporary stop-gap until people move on to ”a proper job”, or simply the leftovers for those who can’t get a better job. It’s that attitude that helps successive governments get away with doing absolutely nothing to counter the multi-nationals’ slaughter of jobs in our High Streets and throughout retail.

"This sector employs over 3 million people. We deserve respect for the skills we deploy, far too often working in the face of threats, abuse and intimidation; the knowledge we have of a very important sector of the economy, which contributes at least 11% of the country’s national annual wealth output (GDP).

"My view is that we need a far stronger voice for workers in decision-making, both in the workplaces and in broader political debates and decisions. Not just strong, independent trade unions, with full recognition and negotiating rights, but ultimately workers’ control of day-to-day decisions. All based on the invaluable insights born of workers’ daily experience.

"Instead of denigrating the occupations of supermarket and retail workers, political parties and governments should be challenging these prejudices, promoting the invaluable nature of retail workers’ contribution to society, and investing in a real industrial strategy for retail. And that must include urgent legislation to guarantee a £10-an-hour minimum wage for all from 16 upwards, rising with inflation – and abolition of zero-hours and small-hours contracts, replaced by a guaranteed minimum contract of 16 hours-a-week for all who want one. “ 






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