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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 July 2012

RMT conference: Vote for one-day general strike

Nick Chaffey, the Socialist and Jared Wood, RMT Neasden, branch delegate, personal capacity

"Coordinated action is the way forward, the mood is out there. The only way the government is going to listen is if we shut down the country", said general secretary Bob Crow in reply to the debate on the pensions battle.

The conference agenda was dominated by the impact of employers' attacks on the union membership. Signal workers debated attacks on safety regulations: "Anything that gets in the way of business is eroded. For the bosses, safety procedures and workers' rights get in the way."

Track workers, drivers and signallers all contributed to the debate. For the RMT this re-affirmed their central commitment to opposing the McNulty report and fighting for the renationalisation of the rail network. Here was evidence of how workers in industry are far better placed to tackle the real issues at work than the employers.

A delegate from the RMT young members moved a resolution on pensions. RMT members in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary had been involved in the recent joint action on 10 May with PCS, POA and others.

Bob Crow explained that RMT must commit itself not only to the idea of a general strike but to build for one: "This has got to be built from the grass roots. Let's not just pass it but go back and build for a one- day general strike. There is nothing more contagious than courage."

He went on to lambast Labour for their failure to support picket lines and question what they will reverse when they next get in.

The conference voted to support the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) campaign against cuts, taking a clear position against ALL austerity cuts and rejecting the argument that some cuts are inevitable.

A separate resolution was passed unanimously, supporting the further development of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). RMT will continue to support candidates who support the aims of the union and, as part of this strategy, will encourage branches and regions of the union to send delegates to the TUSC national conference in September.

Throughout the conference international guest speakers contributed to the debates. Particularly effective were the contributions from New York transport workers' leader and Esenbek from Kazakhstan whose speech was interrupted three times by applause. (See page 9 for an interview with Esenbek).

Esenbek received a standing ovation at the end and stated his gratitude for the work done by Bob Crow and RMT to defend him from state repression. His report of the atrocities taking place shocked many but all were inspired by his reports of the work of the union, especially the recent mine occupations which had won 100% pay rises for the workers.

As in any union there were debates about tactics and appeals against decisions from some areas. The conference showed anyone who cares to see, a democratic process at work and a union led by socialists. In this it represents the future direction of trade unions in Britain.

Its militancy and socialist leadership have an effect way beyond the boundaries of its activities. Increasingly it is the stand of RMT and others such as the PCS that is gaining the support of members generally and setting the agenda across the trade unions.

NSSN-organised lobby of the TUC: Sunday 9 September 1pm

Assemble 1pm at the Level park, Union Road, Brighton BN2 for march at 1.30pm to Brighton (conference) Centre and rally

Speakers include PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka and Bob Crow

See for updates and campaign material

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In The Socialist 4 July 2012:

Socialist Party campaigns

Jail the banksters! Nationalise the banks under popular democratic control

Socialist Party NHS campaign


It's our NHS - let's fight for it!

Welsh Labour's health service 'redesign' means cuts!

South London NHS: Socialist councillors said: 'Axe PFI, not our NHS'

Socialist Party feature

PCS votes to stand candidates in national elections

Socialist Party LGBT

Sexuality, austerity and socialism

International socialist news and analysis

Kazakhstan: Resisting state oppression, fighting for survival

Socialist Party workplace news

London buses: "This is why we're in the union"

Wales Shop Stewards Network conference calls for 24 hour general strike

RMT conference: Vote for one-day general strike

Essex FBU strike back at bullyboy management

Unite needs fighting socialist policies

Supporting Sheffield recycling workers

Workplace news in brief


Obituary: Roger MacKay, a tireless fighter for socialist ideas

Socialist Party appeal

Save our server!

Youth fight for jobs

Immolation horror - we demand jobs

Leicester: Police undermined opposition to racist march

Racist and hooligan EDL invades Dewsbury



Socialist Party review

Various Pets Alive and Dead


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