Elected delegates from across the RMT union are meeting today to discuss whether to affiliate to Labour. We say: the time is right – vote to affiliate!
RMT delegates are meeting today at a Special General Meeting (SGM) on whether or not to take a historic decision and affiliate to the Labour Party.
The consultation process prior to the SGM has allowed branches and regional councils to feed into the debate and many have done this. But the final decision will be that of the elected delegates to the SGM.
All levels of the union have been taking part in this open and democratic debate. I, for one, have campaigned and spoken clearly in favour of Labour Party affiliation, as a proud member of the NUR / RMT union for 30 years.
I support affiliation not because the change in the Labour Party has been completed, but because I want to see progressive change go much further.
For the first time in a generation the Labour Party is now moving towards being a socialist party and a voice for working class people that we have long campaigned for. But the battle to make this happen is far from over and the outcome is not certain.
What is certain is that if we stand on the sidelines shouting and hoping somebody will listen, the opportunity may pass us by. History – as well as our future membership – won’t thank us for this.
The RMT is proudly known to be a union that doesn’t duck a fight. I believe we should be right at the front of the current fight for the future direction of the Labour Party.
Many of our current rail struggles – for retention of guards, ticket offices, direct employment for cleaners and caterers etc. – can be achieved if we get a Labour government committed to public ownership of the railways, run in the interests of the working class and not the bosses.
The RMT union is the biggest of the rail unions and we want our ‘seat at the table’ when rail and other policies important to our members are being drafted and eventually implemented. We need to affiliate for this to happen. At the moment Unite, TSSA and Aslef all have their ‘seats’ – now we need ours!
I strongly believe that it is in the clear interests of RMT members that we become part of this exciting and progressive change in the Labour Party. Voting to support affiliation is the vital next step to help put RMT policies at the centre of Labour’s manifesto for government.
As Bob Crow used to say: “If you fight you might lose. But if you don’t fight you always lose.” Let’s get in, fight, and make sure we win.