The national executive of the RMT union yesterday voted to back candidates of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the London elections on 3 May.
RMT general secretary,Bob Crow, announced the decision to applause at a rally to launch TUSC’s election campaign to win seats on the London Assembly.
The executive also voted to allow its union branches around the country to back other TUSC candidates in the local council elections which take place on the same day.
Prior to taking the decision, the RMT executive had written to every single branch in the Greater London area to ask if there were any objections to the proposal to back TUSC. There were none.
Bob Crow said:
“While Labour leader Ed Miliband may get up and condemn the budget for the rich, what would they do under the same circumstances? Exactly the same, except over a longer period of time. A hundred and seven years ago this union moved a resolution to say we want a party of labour and to get rid of liberalism; now we have to say we need to get rid of Labour and we need a party of trade unionists and socialist.”
Speaking at the same meeting, Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack pointed out that the privatisation of the London fire service had started under Labour.
“The FBU rejects the whole austerity agenda”, he said. “We may be small but we can grow. Our message can get an echo – the alternative is a dire future that offers nothing to millions.”
RMT President Alex Gordon, who is the leading candidate on the TUSC London list said:
“The RMT has a proud tradition of fighting politically. There is nothing to be ashamed about being a trade unionist and a socialist – millions of people out there are looking for an alternative. Labour is ashamed of its background. With TUSC, there will be no running away from supporting strikers – it’s on the tin. They’ve got the millionaires – we’ve got the millions who are deprived of a voice”
The backing given to TUSC candidates by the RMT national executive and its general secretary, the FBU London Region and its general secretary, represents a significant step in the building of a left-wing alternative to the Labour Party.