Rail union RMT will take to the streets in a national demonstration against the Minimum Service Bill and to appeal for support from other unions.
Dozens of delegates at the union’s AGM in Bournemouth declared their total opposition to the “conscription of labour” today and vowed to take all action possible against this “dystopian” legislation.
To rapturous applause, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said:
“We need a national mobilisation of the entire organised working class. We will fight this in the courts, the media and the workplace.”
Although the exact details of the legislation are not yet clear, unions could face devastating financial penalties if they call strike action that falls foul of the law, with the courts forcing them to instruct their own members to cross picket lines.
In a clear message to the government and employers, Mr Lynch added:
“This union will not be bowed, we will not be cowed. And we will continue to fight for our people and do whatever is needed to defend our members and the rest of the working class.”
Delegates representing all parts of the union rose to speak on the unanimously backed motion.
Jim McDaid, of the London Underground Bakerloo line branch, said that it was necessary to co-ordinate action to fight Tory legislation for minimum service levels designed to turn workers into “conscripts.”
“This is the biggest attack on trade unionism for a generation which will allow the bosses to impose any bad deal they like.”
Noreen Hayes, of Piccadilly and District West, also on the London Tube, said that the legislation effectively gave employers the legal power to identify workers and demand they scab on strike action they had voted for.
“Members who refuse to scab face dismissal and trade unions could be sued for massive damages if workers refuse to comply.”
Leeds City branch delegate James Haley lambasted the draconian legislation, saying:
“This is another step towards dictatorship and an act of class war.”
Darlington No1 branch delegate Jessica Robinson drew inspiration from the pension protests in France, where “there was actual civil unrest, people thronging the streets, rubbish piled up and public transport ground to a halt.”
She added: “We need to take to the streets and show our strength.”
South Devon Bus branch delegate Julie Tobin pointed out that the legislation would affect bus workers. She said:
“There is an apathy among some bus workers, but they will understand what they have not got when it is gone, when they bring in minimum service levels.
So it is up to us, comrades, to be in the forefront of fighting back and opposing the Dickensian attitudes from employers.
We need to educate and agitate our members and stand up against this conscription of labour.”
The protest are planned for October.
This article was originally published in the Morning Star. We thank them for their kind permission to reproduce it here.