Resolution to RMT AGM: defending ourselves from the economic crisis

This year, I will be attending RMT's AGM as a delegate, nominated by my branch, Stratford no.1.

Yesterday, the branch discussed resolutions to the AGM, and amongst others, passed this one. I wrote it following reflection on the recent oil refinery walkouts, but it is as much about the lessons we can all learn from those strikes as about the strikes themselves.



As the recession brings attacks on jobs, wages and conditions, we are determined to fight back, and to support our fellow workers who do so, for example in the recent refinery walkouts.

We demand:

  • Jobs for all.
  • Direct employment rather than subcontracting.
  • Union agreements to be enforced without exemptions for contractors.
  • A register of unemployed union members which companies must recruit from.
  • The repeal of the anti-union laws.
  • That employers ‘open the books’ and give workers and our unions access to all information about finances and contracts.
  • The repeal of EU legal rulings that allow contractors to avoid giving workers rights in their host countries; action by the British government to guarantee such rights despite the EU rulings.

Workers should not pay for the bosses’ crisis in Britain or in Europe. If the British Government can advance £1,100bn to save the banks, it can also take the transport, energy and other industries into public ownership, under workers’ control.

Unions must work together across Europe and beyond, to organise workers of all nationalities whichever country they are working in, and to take powerful action to defend the working class.

Otherwise the bosses will be able to play off one country’s workers against another’s. We therefore oppose the use of the slogan ‘British Jobs for British Workers’.

The slogan was picked up by the far right to fuel hatred of foreign workers and immigrants. If it spreads, this slogan will become a weapon to divide workers, setting longer-settled workers against migrant workers.

The media and politicians highlight slogans such as ‘British Jobs for British Workers’ to the exclusion of other slogans and demands, in order to portray workers’ struggles as selfish and racist. We must not play into their hands.

Workers should direct our anger, and our demands, against the employers and governments that attack us, not against fellow workers.

Update: The AGM did not vote on this resolution, as the President ruled that it was "covered" by another resolution.