A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

How not to promote trade unionism 2

It must be something about men called Bob.

Bob Piper has gone into one here about me criticising Bob Crow of the RMT's walkout during Blair's speech.

As someone whose salary as a Labour Organiser back in the mid-90s was 66% funded by the RMT I actually have a lot of time for them as a union - or for what they used to be under Jimmy Knapp.

Apparently Bob P thinks Bob C stands up for his members. My take is there are more constructive ways to get better working conditions and pay for your members - and keep their jobs - than:

  • staging walkouts from speeches by Labour Prime Ministers to get yourself on telly - which is just rude, and only served to make Blair look dignified and them like dinosaurs
  • shouting "scab" at the Mayor of London (although he deserved it for standing against an official Labour candidate, which was not the point the RMT were making)
  • yourself as a union scabbing on the Labour Party you as the NUR founded by getting yourself kicked out for funding the soon-to-split Caledonian Trots of the SSP
  • using strike action as a first resort rather than a last one so that millions of London tube users associate trade unions with a 3 hour journey to work rather than being organisations that might help them get a better deal from their employers

Meanwhile Jon Rogers tells us the TUC have been debating Trident. Unless of course you are a GMB member in the Barrow shipyard hoping to build the next generation of the things I would imagine the average union member would be a bit fed up to find that their £10 a month membership fee was helping fund completely theoretical debates on foreign and defence policy.


Blogger fairdealphil said...

I would have thought the best way to influence who leads the Labour Party - and the country - is to make sure your members have a vote.

Sadly, the RMT placed themselves outside the Labour Party and outside the process to select our Leader.

11:30 pm, September 13, 2006

Anonymous A soft socialist said...

Hmm, the RMT have really put themselves in a bad situation through their excessive use of strike action over things like rotas. Whereas for unison industrial action is a last resort. RMT don't seem to have much solidarity with workers that need to get to work.

12:03 am, September 14, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SSP have split already - there's the Sheridan led 'solidarity' and the remaining SSP. They are arguing over who is largest - but since Sheridan had to split the SSP it appears he didn't have the numbers to win the leadership back.

10:13 am, September 14, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I was using the tense in the sense of "they were soon to split at the time the RMT started funding them"

10:51 am, September 14, 2006

Blogger Jon Rogers said...

Oh dear comrades, some of you really should study trade unionism! The RMT have grown impressively under Crow's leadership and they are highly regarded by union colleagues.

Many RMT activists are still individual Labour Party members and will - of course - have a vote just like the rest of us.

On another point, the demand that we don't spend billions we "can't afford" to spend on our hospitals or schools on purchasing utterly pointless nuclear submarines and missiles which no decent human being would ever use is very popular in my Union.

Surely you are not in favour of unilateral nuclear rearmament? Who are we intending to use our nuclear weapons against? Whom are they supposed to deter?

Why not try a bit of evidence based policy making on nuclear weapons?

9:27 pm, September 15, 2006


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