Shop workers union Usdaw has become the latest trade union to change its policy in favour of proportional representation for UK parliamentary elections.
Usdaw represents over 400,000 people, many on low incomes, who work on the frontline of retail. The union campaigns for improvements to working life for their members including a £12 minimum wage for all workers, an end to zero hours contracts, better sick pay and protection from violence and abuse at work.
By adding electoral reform to their policy asks, Usdaw has recognised the need for a change to the voting system if shop workers are to have an effective voice in the UK Parliament.
This latest policy change builds on the success of the Politics for the Many campaign, which has been working alongside other democracy organisations to secure support for proportional representation from trade unions. Usdaw is the eleventh major union to back voting reform and joins the growing list that includes ASLEF, BFAWU, FBU, Musicians Union, PCS, Prospect, TSSA, UCU, Unison and Unite.
Campaign Collective coordinates the Politics for the Many campaign on behalf of the Electoral Reform Society. It is a cross-party campaign, democratically run by a steering group of active trade unionists from a diverse range of backgrounds.
The campaign aims to create awareness of the benefits of fairer voting systems to working people. It provides information to trade union members through research, publications, blogs, articles, video, social media and events.
Nancy Platts, Campaign Collective member and coordinator of the Politics for the Many campaign said:
“Significant policy changes such as this don’t happen overnight. The success of the campaign is largely due to a consistent grassroots-led approach, with trade union member talking to trade union member. We’ve taken the time to listen to people’s concerns about the state of our democracy in the UK. We’ve answered people’s questions through participatory events and engaging materials, then we’ve given them the space to make up their own minds about what’s fair. Now we are seeing the results, which show that working people want change – they want their vote to count and for that we need a proportional voting system.”