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Friday 27 June 2014

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RMT conference unanimously votes to continue support for TUSC

THE ANNUAL conference (annual general meeting) of the RMT transport workers' union, meeting this week in Bristol, has voted to continue the union's participation in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). The following resolution was agreed unanimously by the conference delegates:

"This AGM congratulates all those RMT members who stood in the May 2014 local elections as Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidates.

"Thirty-five RMT members stood for TUSC in the London Transport Region with 53 RMT members standing as TUSC candidates overall.

"TUSC stood a total of 554 candidates in 507 wards in 86 councils, in the elections on May 22 2014. In addition, TUSC stood candidates in the directly-elected mayoral contests in Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets, and in five by-elections in three councils without scheduled elections this year, that were held on the same day. In total 68,152 votes were cast for these candidates.

"As well as the RMT candidates there were 19 Communication Workers' Union members who were candidates, 18 members of the National Union of Teachers, 16 PCS members, and 20 members of the University and College Union. From the big Labour-affiliated unions, there were 74 Unison members standing for TUSC and 130 members of Unite.

"RMT congratulates Southampton councillor Keith Morrell who outpolled Labour and UKIP combined to retain his seat. TUSC candidates achieved other notable votes including Dave Nellist in Coventry (974 votes - 30%) and over 5,000 votes cast for TUSC in the London Borough of Waltham Forrest. In five authorities TUSC candidates averaged over 5%.

Media Blackout

"The AGM condemns the refusal of the BBC, commercial broadcasters and print media to cover TUSC's challenge in the May local elections. This was the biggest left of Labour challenge in UK electoral history. While UKIP enjoys blanket publicity trade unionists fighting against austerity are ignored.

"RMT will distribute regular material provided by TUSC to members, branches and regional councils. RMT news will carry a feature on TUSCs campaign for the May elections.

Countering UKIP

"This AGM believes the rise in support for UKIP shows why it is essential for trade unionists and socialists to build a workers' alternative to the three main parties of austerity. The trade union movement must not leave the ground clear for the Tories and stockbrokers of UKIP to pose as a radical alternative.

"TUSC is not in a position at this time to challenge UKIP on a national basis but the development of TUSC and growth in support for the project in different unions and communities shows that TUSC is an important start to that process which this AGM supports.

Fighting Austerity is an Industrial and Political Battle

"This AGM notes that our union is fighting, in the best militant traditions of RMT, to defend members from the impact of the government's austerity policies. Austerity affects our members in work through the implementation of McNulty and London Underground's Fit for the Future cuts programme. It also impacts on members as local services and benefits are cut.

"We will defend our members industrially but we also recognise that without political change we will be forever fighting defensive battles

"RMT will continue to participate as a founding element of TUSC with representation on the TUSC national steering committee, which provides a safeguard to ensure that no decisions can be made by TUSC without the authorisation of the RMT representatives.

"The AGM calls on branches and regional councils to organise events with local TUSC groups and supporters to promote the coalition.

Future Electoral Support

"This AGM notes the position of the 2012 AGM which is that RMT will continue to support TUSC candidates in local and national elections under rule. This AGM endorses that position.

"This AGM encourages RMT branches to consider standing members as candidates in the forthcoming general election".