Socialist Worker

Political stand has increased membership

Issue No. 1908

THE RMT union has recruited an extra 3,000 members since it was expelled from the Labour Party in February of this year.

That brings the total membership of the largest rail union up to 70,000, delegates to its annual general meeting in Portsmouth heard this week.

The RMT is one of the few unions that is growing substantially. The increase in membership confounds those who predicted that the RMT’s pioneering stance over political representation would lead to floods of members leaving.

RMT general secretary told delegates he estimated there were fewer than 300 RMT members still in the Labour Party.

The union was expelled for allowing branches to back left wing candidates standing against New Labour.

RMT president Tony Donaghy told the conference the days of “blind loyalty” to a Labour government were over.

And he called on other unions to take a more combative stance. “Workers are not going to join trade unions if they are unable to defend them,” he said.

“For far too long, the TUC has ignored this fact and must wake up and coordinate mass leadership to rid us of these undemocratic anti-union laws.”

The conference passed a resolution calling for a democratically run transport system as an alternative to privatisation. The first two days of the conference took place against the backdrop of the impending 24-hour strike on the tube.

Full report next week.

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Sat 3 Jul 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1908
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