Blog: Bakerloo Line branch of the RMT calls for radical socialist policies to confront climate change

The Bakerloo Line branch of the RMT has called for radical socialist policies to confront climate change. The branch discussed the issue in the context of a growing movement of direct-action activity around climate change, including some in and around London Underground workplaces, and passed a resolution. We publish the text of the resolution below, as part of ongoing efforts to build dialogue and solidarity between trade unions and the radical climate movement.

This branch notes the accelerating climate crisis, with scientists estimating that we have 12 years to radically reduce fossil fuel emissions or face irreversible ecological damage. As such we are inspired by the radicalism and militancy of youth climate strikers and others taking direct action to highlight this crisis and demand radical action from governments.

We believe climate change is a class issue, and that workers’ agency is crucial to affecting the transformation of our economy and society necessary to prevent climate catastrophe. 

This branch endorses policies now emerging as part of a discussion around a “Green New Deal”, including:

• A national climate service/strategy, manufacturing, installing and training in renewable technologies and eliminating waste.
• Nationalising energy supply/generation including Big Six energy companies creating an integrated democratic national energy system. (Not public companies competing with private ones in the marketplace.)
• Nationalising public transport – bus, rail and tram part of an expanded, free or radically cheaper and democratic system. 
• A public program of insulation and building and retrofitting zero-carbon council housing / public buildings.
• A million well-paid, public, unionised climate jobs.
• Ending fracking, fossil fuel extraction and airport expansion. 
• Investment in alternative, socially useful jobs and guarantee living standards and communities, not line up with employers to defend the indefensible.
• 100% of the country’s electricity and heat from renewable sources by 2030.

This branch further notes attempts, by Extinction Rebellion, to disrupt TfL/LU services as part of their campaigning. While maintaining the safety of our passengers will always be paramount for us as Tube workers, and while we maintain some criticisms of ExR’s perspectives and strategies, we welcome the radicalism of their movement, express our solidarity with their activists, and hope to engage them in a dialogue between climate activists and trade unions.

This branch therefore resolves:

  • To send a message of solidarity to the next youth climate strike on 24 May, advertised on our branch social media and on RMT London Calling as a branch policy
  • To emphasise in propaganda around our own upcoming disputes that, in fighting for a well-funded, properly-staffed, and expanded Tube and public transport system (i.e., a lower-emissions form of transport), we are also fighting against ecological damage.
  • To invite a climate striker and a representative of ExR to a future branch meeting to discuss their movement, and request that they be invited to a future Regional Council
  • To request that the union makes a donation to their fund appeal []
  • To request that the NEC makes a statement of solidarity, from the RMT at national level, with the youth climate strikers
  • To request that the NEC ensures RMT members working in the energy industry, e.g. off-shore, are centrally engaged in discussions about worker-led transitions to a zero-carbon economy.