RMT disabled members say: repeal all anti-union laws!

The Disabled Members conference of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport workers (RMT) has passed a resolution reaffirming opposition to all anti-union and anti-strike laws, and resolving to work with Free Our Unions to campaign against them.

See the report on the RMT London Transport Region website here.

The resolution says: “We deplore the Tory government’s plan to introduce a new anti-union law, to require that a ‘minimum service’ runs during transport strikes. We note that this is promoted by referring to the rights of passengers, including disabled passengers. We are appalled that the Tories, with their record of systematic attacks on disabled people, would cynically use disabled people as a pretext to restrict the right to strike. We affirm that it is in the interests of disabled people to defend the right to strike, and we will resist attempts to divide transport workers and passengers against each other.”

In 2018, the RMT AGM passed a resolution supporting Free Our Unions, becoming at that time the third national trade union to support our campaign (the Public and Commercial Services union, PCS, has since added support). The resolution from the Disabled Members conference will go forward to the next RMT AGM, meaning AGM delegates will have an opportunity to reaffirm their union’s position in favour of the repeal of all anti-union and anti-strike laws.

The full text of the resolution is below.

DISABLED WORKERS AND ANTI-UNION LAWS

(Proposed by Finsbury Park branch)

This conference believes that Britain’s anti-union laws hamper disabled workers in fighting for our rights, including by:

1. restricting what we are allowed to take action over to narrowly-defined ‘trade disputes’, barring strikes against wider social and political issues that affect disabled people
2. requiring unions to follow a lengthy process before calling action, which can allow employers to go ahead with their attack before we are allowed to take action against it
3. insisting that industrial action ballots be conducted solely by post, placing discriminatory barriers in the way of disabled people voting
4. requiring members to opt in to the union’s political fund, in the hope of starving unions of money that they can spend on political campaigning and representation, including on disability rights.

We deplore the Tory government’s plan to introduce a new anti-union law, to require that a ‘minimum service’ runs during transport strikes. We note that this is promoted by referring to the rights of passengers, including disabled passengers. We are appalled that the Tories, with their record of systematic attacks on disabled people, would cynically use disabled people as a pretext to restrict the right to strike. We affirm that it is in the interests of disabled people to defend the right to strike, and we will resist attempts to divide transport workers and passengers against each other.

We welcome the policies passed by TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference and Labour Party conference for the repeal of all anti-union laws. We welcome, and will take part in, campaigning by Free Our Unions and the TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee on this issue, and against the proposed new law.

We resolve to hold a fringe meeting on this subject at TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference in March.

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