Download NEC policy statement on fighting redundancies

I have posted below a copy of RMT’s new NEC policy statement on fighting redundancies and attacks on members pay and conditions.

The BBC recently reported that UK firms started consultations on over 300K redundancies in June and July alone. The NEC has taken reports on redundancy threats to RMT members in all sectors. It is vital that we discuss how we can resist job losses and attacks on pay and conditions in the period of economic crisis we are entering.

This is unlikely to be a run of the mill cyclical recession. The Financial Times reports that,

“In May, the European Commission calculated that, in a relatively optimistic scenario, corporate Europe would lose €720bn by the end of the year. One-quarter of all European companies with more than 20 employees would exhaust their working capital and run out of cash by then, even when benefiting from wage subsidies. The economy has in fact performed somewhat worse than those calculations assumed.”

RMT has proud traditions of fighting to defend jobs and conditions. That has to continue. But we will have to look for bolder solutions that in the past. We will need to force government to act to nationalise sections of our industries that are currently in private hands and we will have to fight for funding for services that are already in the public sector, like TfL/LUL.

It is understandable that members may lack confidence in the face of an unprecedented pandemic and a transport industry in crisis. But we must not accept the idea that workers must pay to keep the economy afloat. The bosses will tell us the economy can’t afford to maintain wages. Look at British Airways. The whole workforce threatened with redundancy and new, inferior, pay and conditions. Yet the departing boss, Willie Walsh, has just received an £800K bonus for last year taking his salary for 2019 to £3.2m.

How long can this go on? We have to fight back. We may not save every job and resist every pay cut. But we must strive to do so. We must offer every member facing redundancy a thought-out plan to fight back against their boss and save jobs and conditions. Of course, we will negotiate and seek to win the best deals possible for members. But sometimes there will be no acceptable deal on the table. Branches and regional councils should look to launch the new policy on fighting redundancies as soon as possible.

At this time, the socialist political position of RMT will be more important than ever. Failing companies must be nationalised not given huge subsidies to prop up shareholders while workers suffer. Capitalism has proved itself to be dysfunctional. Since the start of the 21st century we have had the 2008 crash and now the current crisis. If we are going to defend the employment, working conditions and living standard of workers and working-class communities in the next period we have to popularise the ideas of a socialist alternative to private profit and the domination of finance capitalism, which must be based on public ownership and the democratic allocation of resources.