Socialist Worker

Labour expels union that founded party

by Kevin Ovenden
Issue No. 1888

LABOUR LEADERS have expelled a trade union because it refuses to back Blair's Thatcherite policies. RMT union conference delegates bravely stood up for their members and against New Labour's diktat last Friday.

They voted to remain affiliated to the Labour Party nationally, but to allow local branches to back candidates who agree with the union's policies. The delegates voted by 42 to eight to reaffirm this policy. The RMT sent off its £12,500 affiliation fee. The Labour Party kicked the union out without even giving them a hearing. Labour could not name the rule the RMT had broken.

That has caused uproar across the union movement. A taste of that came at a 700-strong convention of delegates from different unions on Saturday. Increasing numbers of working people share the bitterness of RMT members, who are sick of privatisation, war, and attacks on the unions.

Now New Labour is telling millions of trade union members, whose dues it happily takes, that they must accept everything Blair says. It's saying they have no right to decide democratically what to do with their own money.

Far from being out in the cold, the RMT is in tune with the feeling in workplaces and communities across Britain. Growing numbers want genuine democracy and choice, not the charade of the mainstream parties. They want strong unions independent of government ministers. And they want the right to back left wing candidates independent from New Labour.

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