You may or may not know that the RMT have voted for strike action to fight for the reinstatement of two of their reps sacked for union organising.
I’m not going to go into the background of the dispute beyond that. It doesn’t matter, I’m not in the RMT so I didn’t vote in the strike ballot. The facts that matter to me and all non RMT members are these – The RMT is going on strike or put another way workers are fighting for their rights and conditions. My support for them and their action is unconditional.
I recognise their right to choose their course of action for themselves.Â Â They don’t need me to tell them what to do, which is good because I’m not going to tell them what to do.
What they need is the support of other workers, they need all of us to recognise that old IWW slogan “an injury to one is an injury to all” and to understand what it means.
The best way to explain what it means is to put it in its opposite “A victory for one is a victory for all”.Â We’re told there’s a job market, and there is. The Tories love it, the Labour party spent 13 years in government making that market more flexible. What we don’t get told enough but what we should recognise is how that market works is something we as people who are forced to sell our labour in it can decide. The employers want the competition within that market to be between workers – work longer, harder and faster for less than the next person. Each worker trying to make themselves more attractive to employers of than the next worker. In short they want us to cut our own throats.Â Â That’s what they want but we don’t have to give it to them.Â The truth is, they need us, we don’t need them. What the RMT are doing is making their workplace a more attractive place to be.Â When the RMT win a dispute, when conditions within that workplace improve workers want to be there instead of a workplace with lower pay and poorer conditions.
When the RMT or any other union improve conditions for themselves they improve the lot of us all. This is what we need to recognise, this is something we need to shout about at every opportunity.
Sunny Hundal the self styled left wing writer doesn’t recognise any of this . In a blog post this morning on his Liberal Conspiracy site Hundal is trying to tell the RMT what’s really going on. He’s offering criticism in a live dispute with a straight face. He does however say that “IâEUR(TM)m not against strike action in this case” as though the RMT need his approval for action and they’re lucky to get it.
He ends his post with this.
All IâEUR(TM)m saying is this: when it comes to Tube strikes, unions are almost always the losers in the media and public opinion battle. That matters because the likely outcome is more anti-union legislation. It doesnâEUR(TM)t always have to be that way, if only there was more coordination and discussion with allies elsewhere.
Sunny’s right. There is a fight for public opinion, there is a chance of further attacks on union rights. what Sunny can’t get his head around is that he’s on the wrong side. What the RMT and every other worker needs is solidarity. Not a mealy mouthed part time scab.