Article from the Oct 2004 edition, Socialist Voice

Omagh Picket forces SuperValu to increase wages

SOCIALIST YOUTH have continued to put pressure on the SuperValu outlet owned by O'Kane stores in Omagh to raise their wages from the poverty rates they have been paying young people.

By Patrick Meehan Omagh Socialist Youth

We picketed the store in August to draw attention to the fact that they were paying 16 year olds 2.58 an hour. This had been raised from 2.50 - an 8p rise! - following negotiation with the shopworkers' union.

We received reports of workers being forced to cover hours of people off sick without the designated breaks, breaching employment contracts. It was also alleged that there were incidences of workers being pressurised into leaving when they turned 18 before SuperValu would be forced to increase their pay.

We got a very good response from the public for our picket. A number of articles appeared in local papers highlighting the situation and a follow up stall was organised.

As a result a number of young people joined Socialist Youth from SuperValu. Management responded by victimising staff. One worker who had joined Socialist Youth had all his hours taken from him. Effectively he has been sacked but management have not met him to clarify his position. We will take further action on his behalf if this continues.

As a result of our actions SuperValu have increased the wage for 16-18 year olds to 3 an hour and have done so in advance of the legislation extending the minimum wage to young people coming into force.

This is a small but important victory, although the wages are still a long way off our demand for a universal minimum of 6. We will follow this up with further similar action against low pay employers in the area.

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