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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 April 2014

Build on the fighting militant traditions of the RMT

Bob Crow on RMT lobby against privatisation on the railways, photo Paul Mattsson

Bob Crow on RMT lobby against privatisation on the railways, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Jared Wood

Following the tragic death of Bob Crow the RMT is to open nominations for a new general secretary. Nominations will close on 2 July and the postal ballot will run from 21 July to 21 September.

With nominations open until July it is not yet clear who will be on the ballot paper but early indications suggest that there will be several candidates seeking nomination.

The role of RMT general secretary will continue to have significance far greater than the relatively small size of RMT (compared with Unison, Unite or GMB).

Bob's industrial and political leadership of one of the most militant and socialist sections of the British trade union movement will be a hard act to follow, but it is essential that the next general secretary does follow in Bob's traditions.

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone was no friend of the RMT or workers on the tube but he was right when he said that any working class person on a decent salary in London was likely to be an RMT member.

The militant fighting stance of our union has continued to deliver above inflation pay deals and has held off bigger attacks on jobs and conditions from many employers, including London Underground.

Bob also took this approach to the TUC and was a staunch supporter of the National Shop Stewards Network, which the RMT initiated in 2006.

Bob also led the movement in a political sense. Defending jobs and conditions always has and must continue to come first.

But RMT has recognised that we cannot defend jobs, pay and conditions without a more profound political change.

All the main political parties now openly support big business agendas including privatisation and cuts in jobs and pay.

Our union has been instrumental in the development of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

No one would say TUSC is guaranteed to lead directly to a new mass party of workers and the trade unions but it has the potential to play a critical role.

Bob was an official rep on the TUSC steering committee since an RMT ADM (national conference) decision in 2012.

It is crucial that we continue to support the project and do not turn the clock back to the days when we were affiliated to a Labour Party that no longer represents working people in any real sense.

For these reasons the Socialist Party urges all those prospective candidates who do support the fighting militant industrial position of our union and the political strategy of continuing to build TUSC to ensure that one united campaign behind one candidate can take on any opponents who may seek to take our union backwards.

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In The Socialist 9 April 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

House of Thieves

Housing emergency

Break with pro-cuts Labour now

System change to save the environment

Hillsborough tragedy - the final chapter?

OECD report: A system in crisis

Them & Us

Socialist Party workplace news

Care UK strike: national union support needed

Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) elections

Build on the fighting militant traditions of the RMT

Probation workers unite to fight off no-justice vultures

Visteon: Ford makes offer

Sparks fight on!

Homes and Communities Agency strike

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Swansea: National Front thwarted!

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition progress update

Doncaster: March commemorates miners' strike

Save Leicester Race Equality Centre

Obituary: Pat James 1930 - 2014

Help with the Socialist sales campaign

Support the Socialist with a May Day greeting

Reviews and readers' comments

Book review: Silent Accomplice

Reviews and comments


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