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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 October 2020

RMT: Programme to fight redundancies and cuts

photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party members in RMT

The RMT transport union's national executive committee (NEC) has agreed a policy on fighting redundancies, pay cuts and attacks on conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This policy is an important statement of our union's position at this time. RMT has set itself against any attempt to make workers pay for the Covid crisis at a time when, unfortunately, the leaderships of the Trades Union Congress and many unions are buying into the Tory lie that we're all in it together.

Government borrowing this year has already exceeded the annual borrowing at the height of the 2008 banking crisis. Since 2008, workers have paid the cost of bailouts to the rich and powerful. Pay has not kept pace with inflation, and public services have been decimated.

Wealth

Yet the wealthiest 1,000 people in Britain doubled their wealth, and then increased it by the same amount again, in the ten years following the banking crisis. It is inevitable that the ruling elite, the 1% who control our economy, will seek a similar solution to the economic fallout from Covid.

Of course, RMT members working for train-operating companies, Network Rail, London Underground and many other employers, managed to protect our real pay levels after 2008. This was achieved by refusing to accept the bogus argument that workers needed to share the pain of the financial losses caused by bankers. Our policy on fighting redundancies, pay cuts and attacks on conditions now sends a clear signal to all that we will resist any attempt to make workers subsidise the rich now.

The struggle between workers and the elite will be even sharper this time around. Many workers cannot afford another round of austerity and our public services have nothing left to cut.

We also have to take account though of the fear many workers have of losing their jobs and a lack of confidence that we can resist the tide of job cuts and other attacks. RMT must build support for our policy on resisting all attacks from the bosses. We must build the confidence of members in our ability to fight back.

This means branches and regions holding special meetings, on Zoom where necessary, to launch our campaign. It means looking to broaden strike calls and public campaigns against job cuts or other attacks.

Where a service is shut down or carrying very few passengers, we need to look at taking action on the employer's other contracts or take sector-wide action. RMT should demand a rail industry-wide no redundancy agreement with the government and employers, and consider balloting for action against any employer who does not agree this.

Agreeing the policy is just the first step in raising the confidence of members and outlining how we can fight back to defend jobs, pay and conditions. Now RMT must do everything possible to publicise the policy and to take it into the TUC and wider trade union movement. We should seek alliances with other unions who are prepared to fight and put demands onto the TUC leadership.

It is unfortunate that, just as this battle for jobs and conditions is intensifying, a letter from the General Secretary of RMT, attacking the elected RMT national executive committee, has been sent to members and has found its way into the capitalist press.

Allegations

Allegations of bullying have been made in the union by and against the general secretary and others. The national executive committee has ordered an independent inquiry into the issue of harassment and bullying.

It is crucial, though, that the democratic oversight that the national executive committee exercises over national officers under the unions rules does not get diluted at this time. It is not a coincidence that similar tensions between lay member representatives and full-time officials have emerged in other unions. In a period of intense class struggle, the control of trade unions by their members is more important than ever.

These issues must be addressed so that RMT can operate its democratic structures as effectively as possible, with all members free to contribute to debates. First and foremost, all RMT branches, regions and reps must be committed to building our fightback and working to get support for this from every member.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
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In The Socialist 21 October 2020:


Lockdown

Health before profit - Work or full pay

Wales 'firebreak' lockdown fails to protect workers

Liverpool lockdown: suspicion and anger

Newcastle lockdown: stress and breakdowns

Leicester lockdown: disillusionment and anger


Unison

Why the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary


International

Nigeria protests: 'This movement needs to fight the whole rotten capitalist system'

Horrific murder in Paris: fight intolerance and racism!

South Africa: Mass day of action for permanent jobs and a living wage


News

Tories reduce winter homeless funding: reverse the cuts,use the empty homes!

World capitalism's terrified strategists abandon austerity - for now


Coronavirus

Test and Trace U-turn on stopping local case reporting

Oxbridge gets private Covid tests: pool resources to test us all!

Millennials disillusioned with 'democracy'

Under the microscope


Workplace

RMT: Programme to fight redundancies and cuts

Action on Covid transmission in schools now

FCC dismiss Unison activist Tony Smith

Optare workers strike over pay broken 'promise'

Solidarity with Deliveroo Couriers in York


Campaigns

NHS workers

Students: Give us our money back

Fight for your future at the online rally

Southampton: Coxford community condemns racist attack

Socialism 2020: Will you help our finance appeal?

Selling the Socialist: increase in NHS anger

Truth about Zane: Cover-up Tories crack

Kent: Chaotic privatised asylum process

Teignmouth hospital closure threat ... again!


Readers' opinion

Books that inspired me: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Beware the billionaires bearing gifts

Disabled students let down by "rotten education system"

The Socialist Inbox


 

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