ASLEF demands TUC condemnation of RMT poaching efforts

06 June 2006

ASLEF’s conference, meeting this week in Scarborough, has instructed General Secretary Keith Norman to demand TUC condemnation of efforts by the RMT to recruit train drivers. Delegates pointed out that this is in contravention of TUC accords, ignores guarantees given to ASLEF and leads to harmful splits and disunity within the rail industry.

 

If no progress is made at the TUC, ASLEF will cease all communications with a union that ‘has proven itself untrustworthy, deceitful and dishonest’.

 

Disputes about RMT poaching train drivers appeared to be resolved at the TUC last year when the unions agreed to ‘work with each other to achieve full membership of all railway workers in a union within our traditional spheres of influence’.

 

The RMT has reneged on this agreement. Instead it has issued, at national level, a document directly seeking to recruit ASLEF members. An RMT ‘National Organising Committee’ directly attacks ASLEF and calls for drivers to leave their union.

 

Previously RMT General Secretary Bob Crow has insisted that such attempts have been local initiatives, not approved at national level.

 

One delegate pointed out that the RMT has been ejected from the Labour Party, and that is now seems intent on completing its isolation by been expelled from the TUC. Another pointed out that, ‘we are debating this issue on the 6th of the 6th of the 6th. Perhaps it is now time to kick the devil out of the cab!’

 

ASLEF General Secretary Keith Norman said the RMT attempts were a back-handed compliment to our union. ‘We are being attacked because we are strong, united and effective in a way that the RMT cannot achieve. They should put their own house in order before making efforts to expand.

 

‘We are, and will remain an independent skilled craft union looking after the interests of our members. We have no desire to be used like puppets to further RMT aspirations for other grades or political agendas. They would be better off spending time organising themselves rather than seek to poach our members.’

 

He stressed, however, that ASLEF remains committed to full unionism within the rail industry and hoped RMT would honour agreements it had made. ‘Until they make it impossible, I want to work with all unions in the rail industry,’ he said.

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