Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Conference on Working Class Representation

You may have heard rumours of an RMT conference on working class political representation. For your information we publish below details such as they are so far.

A resolution from the Bristol RMT branch was passed at the union’s AGM in July, which read:


That this branch calls on the AGM to reaffirm its decision of 2004 which rightly characterised ‘the Labour Party under its current leadership as the party of privatisation and neo-liberalism, support for imperialist wars of the extreme right Bush administration, attacks on civil liberties and trade union rights and freedoms.’

And recognised that: ‘it is more important than ever our union takes up the important task of developing political representation of the working class.’

The last year has seen no relenting of these policies, indeed the run up to the General Election was characterised by a wholesale attack on workers’ pensions; housing and health. Therefore, this AGM calls upon the Council of Executives to:

• Build a national conference of trade unions and organisations of working class communities and political organisations to discuss the crisis of political representation of the working class;
• Continue the work already begun by the union, in the European Social Forum, to develop a high profile for the debate internationally on the question of trade unions and political representation."

The resolution was passed with only three votes against.

The RMT Council of Executives passed a resolution to implement this AGM decision. It instructed the General Secretary to "Organise a broad based Trade Union and Labour meeting to discuss the crisis in working class representation". Trades unions at the national level, RMT branches and Regional Councils are to be invited, together with the RMT Parliamentary Groups (Westminster, the Welsh and Scottish assemblies).

It makes clear that the purpose of the meeting is "to discuss the crisis in working class representation not setting up a new political party", "though this will obviously be one of the topics of debate". The conference will also promote the Trade Union Freedom Bill."

It is not clear whether the participation of union branches from other unions will be accepted if their union at the national level does not support the conference.

It will not be open to resolutions.

The branch circular says "I would emphasise that the conference will not be used to promote the establishment of a new political party. The Conference will be a broad based Trade Union and Labour Movement meeting to discuss the crisis in working class representation and to promote the campaign for a trade union freedom Bill."

It will take place on Saturday 21st January 2005 from 11.30 - 3.30 at Friends House, Euston Road, London.

As soon as we have more information we will let people know.


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