Bob Crow - recruiting sergeant for de-unionisation
I wonder how many workers on substantially lower wages and worse terms and conditions than tube staff have been put off joining a trade union by the RMT's unnecessary 72-hour long act of economic vandalism this week and are cursing Bob Crow and his members as they walk home or queue for overcrowded buses?
I've actually recruited union members over the years. Once you explain that a trade union is about practical things like negotiating on your behalf, helping you with legal support and advice, trying collectively to improve your conditions at work, people are interested.
But the biggest push back - often from people who would really benefit from being in a union - is the fear that they are going to be signing up for unnecessary and/or politically motivated strike action, and being publicly represented by Trot or Stalinist demagogues.
Crow's brand of neo-Scargillite macho industrial willy-waving is a disgrace to the trade union movement and will make recruitment to trade unionism more difficult. Indirectly, it will therefore damage the working lives of many people who would have benefited from being trade union members.
I would be interested to know how much of the push for the current action is coming from professional revolutionaries from the AWL and Respect who have entered into the RMT as it is a small and easily manipulable union, and in an industry where shift patterns afford opportunities to go to lots of caucus meetings and subsidised travel means you can move around London easily to recruit and sell newspapers. I'm aware of at least one Trot former member of the NUS National Executive, with a PhD, whose career move into train driving then LU station management has facilitated an equally destructive role in the RMT to the one they played in student unionism.
Saner unions should get in there and start recruiting those tube workers who want a leadership for whom strike action is the last resort, not the first way to get publicity.
The TUC should condemn the strike.
Normally I would never criticise a fellow union member in dispute with their employer, but as the RMT are no longer showing any solidarity with the rest of the Labour movement, having stepped outside the Labour Party, I can see no reason why the rest of the Labour movement should show solidarity with them.
Jimmy Knapp, under whom the RMT was a force for great common sense, must be turning in his grave at the current exploits.