The conference of the TSSA rail workers’ union last week debated the union’s relationship with Labour, and in particular Gordon Brown.
Conference passed a motion with only five votes against that condemned the executive committee’s (EC) decision to nominate Gordon Brown in the Labour leadership elections.
The EC’s backing of Brown was in breach of last year’s conference decision to only nominate candidates that
supported Labour Party policy to bring the railway back into public ownership.
Immediately after this the conference voted, against the EC, to restrict funding to the Labour Party to the mandatory affiliation fee. Any further funding has to be directly linked to implementing democratically agreed Labour Party policies.
There were several other motions to alter the union’s rules to allow for a democratisation of the political fund. These were either defeated or ruled out of order.
Conference unanimously passed a motion endorsing industrial action against planned compulsory redundancies in Network Rail.
The EC was defeated on many progressive issues. But it was also beaten on moves it is taking to make the union a better organising force.
The union adopted a more radical stance over the arms trade and on climate change. Conference delegates overwhelmingly supported the stance taken by the NUT teachers’ union conference against military recruitment campaigns in schools in England.
Delegates also supported a motion that called on the TUC to support and organise a boycott of Israeli goods. The final debate at this year’s conference resulted in the union agreeing to disaffiliate from the Trade Union Friends of Israel.