RMT will ‘align’, not re-affiliate, to Labour – and what that means


Members of the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport Union) have been voting in recent weeks on whether the union should re-affiliate to the Labour Party. In a tight result, the union has decided not to re-affiliated – but instead to ‘align’ itself with the party.

A statement by RMT General Secretary Mick Cash explains:

Our consultation has shown that the views of our Branches and Regions are finely balanced and the SGM has decided that whilst we do not support affiliation at this current time there is the potential for the union to affiliate to the Labour Party at a future date if there is clearer support for this. Many of our members have also reacted angrily to constant attempts by a hard core of Labour MPs to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and the radical progressive changes he has made to Labour.

In contrast there is a clear desire amongst RMT members to support Jeremy Corbyn and the left leadership of the Labour Party and that is why we are now be putting in place other concrete steps to throw the weight of the RMT behind supporting the socialist advances that have been made in the Labour Party, this will include aligning ourselves towards Labour, encouraging members to be active in Labour and allowing our Branches and Regions to fund Labour candidates.

The RMT’s decision not to move to full re-affiliation yet is driven by its displeasure with and suspicion of the right-wing ‘hard core’ remnant of MPs determined to damage the party regardless of the clear need for a Labour government – and its decision to ‘align’ is driven by a determination to ensure that those MPs are unsuccessful.

The union’s press office clarified that ‘alignment’ includes:

  • encouraging its more than 80,000 members to be active in the Labour Party
  • allowing all the union’s over two hundred branches and regional councils to use their political funds to back Labour at elections
  • encouraging RMT Branches to work with Labour party groups at a local level
  • and, crucially, any other steps the union can identify to support Corbyn’s leadership and the direction of the party set by him and supported by the vast majority of Labour members

The RMT has also made clear that this support will continue as long as Labour continues to be a genuine socialist party with strong, positive policies on transport and union rights.

The RMT’s reasons for not fully re-affiliating echo those of the then-NUT (now NEA, the National Education Union) at its conference last year and similarly holds the promise of re-affiliation when the ‘Blairite’ die-hards are no longer a danger to Labour’s status as a genuine alternative to right-wing social and economic policies.

Its decision to ‘align’ is similar to the recent decision by the PCS union to get behind Jeremy Corbyn and his policies to support him against back-bench attempts to undermine the party and its leader.

The support will vastly welcome to most Labour members – and anything but to the right-wing ‘die-hards’.

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  1. It’s a shame, but it’s entirely understandable. A decent compromise, though.

    Reflects my sentiments exactly. Until the party is socialist throughout and a visible alternative to the toerags and liberals I will not become a member.

    But if the PCS are allowed to affiliate after their performances I will not vote for Labour whatsoever. Them bailiffs, traffic wardens, tax inspectors and jobcentre workers have burned their bridges with socialism through their lil-livered fifth-columnist actions, and should have NO place in a socialist party.

  2. Absolutely, Toff.

    The PCS, particularly the Jobcentre workers, are collaborator scum of the first water. The Nuremburg Defence will not wash.

    Personally, I won’t be joining the Labour party till everyone connected with sanctioning benefit claimants and killing cripples, with Progress, the Co-op party and Labour Friends of Israel are all expelled. That’ll do for now.

    PS George Galloway!

  3. So those on he Left in Labour should fight the Right then others may deem they are worthy of their company when perhaps they should join the front- line fighting against the Right in and outside of Labour?
    I was thinking of how there is a great but small number of socialists at the top of Labour and by chance re-reading The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist I came across a great quote (page 342) and Robert Tressell was thinking of those who genuinely are on the side of the poor: “They were as a few fragrant flowers amidst a dense accumulation of noxious weeds. They were an example of humility and kindness shining amidst a vile and loathsome mass of hypocrisy, arrogance and can’t.”

    1. ‘So those on he Left in Labour should fight the Right then others may deem they are worthy of their company when perhaps they should join the front- line fighting against the Right in and outside of Labour?’

      Err…Not quite. The party as it stands now isn’t enough of a socialist party for me. It isn’t for you – and we’ve heard you complaining of it as well. Apparently there’s enough on the left (momentum) to make it so.

      So make it so. Those who are in a better position than me to disinfect the party, do so.

      I stand by my view on the PCS, too. Don’t like it? Tough titty.

      Oh and have me down as some sort of ‘glory hunter’…I really couldn’t give a f**k. I’ve done my bit (and still do) for those less fortunate than meself – much more than ANY labour party’s ever done for me or mine – so quote whoever and whatever you want and attribute it to me; I honestly couldn’t give a flying one.

      People who know me appreciate what I do & I’ve done for them and that’s all that matters to me. Someone on a website making snide assumptions and comments really doesn’t bother me.

  4. After Corbyn got elected I joined the Labour Party for the first time in my 50 years on the left. Precisely because I thought everyone on the left needs to be in there fighting the Blairites if Corbyn is to stand a chance and in support of the rejection of the Tory/ New Labour consensus on freemarket capitalism.

    RMT and other unions need to be in the party fighting them not sitting back waiting and watching others who might fail without them.

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