Socialist Worker

TSSA and RMT could form a stronger union

Issue No. 2262

The two biggest rail unions in Britain—the RMT and TSSA—last week announced that they would be taking part in formal talks that could lead to a merger.

Initial discussions will be focused on the unions working together more closely through a federation structure that could lead to the creation of one union.

A new union would have around 110,000 members, and increase unity among different groups of workers and make it easier to coordinate action.

This has got bosses and Tory MPs worried.

They fear that there could be a wider fightback against cuts and privatisation across the rail network if the merger goes through.

Right wing Tory MP Dominic Raab said, “This will be a Gordon Gekko-style takeover by Bob Crow, not an act of fraternal solidarity.

“With TSSA and RMT spoiling for a fight, it is an attempt to strengthen union opposition to vital reforms to UK rail infrastructure—and it heightens the risk of strike action for passengers.”

But despite creating worries among our rulers, there are a few problematic issues for the unions in the merger discussion.

The TSSA remains affiliated to the Labour Party, but the RMT was expelled from the party in 2004 for supporting the Scottish Socialist Party.

The TSSA has also been traditionally more moderate than the RMT, though it has organised a number of strikes over the last few years.

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Tue 26 Jul 2011, 18:32 BST
Issue No. 2262
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