Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lessons to learn from the RMT

Congratulations to my friend and comrade George Binette from the Camden UNISON Branch for his reasoned defence of Bob Crow and the RMT on today’s Observer letter page.

George makes the well-founded point that while commentators such as Will Hutton denounce Bob Crow as a dinosaur, the RMT are growing at a pace which far outshines that of most other trade unions.

For UNISON members the lesson that a combative approach to the defence of members interests is one which helps a trade union to grow is one which our leadership would do well to learn. (Incidentally, the RMT give full benefits from the point at which a member joins, which might give us pause for thought next time we debate Rule K at Conference?)

The major boosts in UNISON membership growth over the last decade have been around major national disputes on pay and pensions. Now that we are moving to strike action over local government pay we have an opportunity for further growth.

Let’s hope the Industrial Action Committee give us that opportunity!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dinosaurs were incredibly succesful -and only wiped out by a major change in the climate. Maybe that is what Brown is planning at the next Labour Conference.

But it is odd that UNISON seems to forget that we really do recruit members when we take a stand and are seen to be active -as opposed to being paper tigers.

Anonymous said...

While I accept the premises that Bob Crow of the RMT has secured some great deals for his members and increased his membership,.

The same cannot be said for a similar strategy pursued in other sectors, for example Mark Serwotka of PCS, who’s members are voting with their feet and disserting the union (I witnessed this first hand on the picket line at the Inland Revenue). The PCS cannot wage war on 300 different employees at once without diluting its impact significantly.

The difference is Bob Crow is quite rightly picking off individual private employees, rather than pursuing a WW1 “all over the top” suicidal strategy favored by revolutionary socialist who just want to dream of a revolution and sell the paper.

Evidence, does not show strikes win members, evidence shows as many members leave because of a threatened strike as join. What is clear is successful campaigns do recruit (and this may or may not include strikes.

Finally, If strikes were the panacea to recruitment, how come the fastest growing union in the UK is the “Scab” no strike, non TUC Royal College of Nursing,????