THE RMT has called off its Network Rail strike action of signal workers after the judiciary declared it to be illegal, using the ruling class’s anti-union laws to do so.
Lord Adonis, the Labour Transport Secretary, applauded the action of the judiciary and said that its decision was a ‘huge relief’.
Part of the Network Rail submission was that the strike action would be a disaster for the bankrupt British capitalist economy. This is what guided the learned judge to take the necessary action on behalf of the ruling class.
The RMT leader Bob Crow called the judicial assault an attack on the entire trade union movement and its right to strike, and he is, of course, right.
He said that the union intended to reballot the signal workers. However, he also called off the maintenance workers strike, although this was not required by the court, showing a certain submissiveness to the ruling class.
It is becoming clear, even to confirmed reformist trade union leaders, that it is being made extremely difficult to have a legal strike in this country. The results of the RMT reballot may well face a renewed legal challenge, since the crisis of the British capitalist economy may well have worsened.
The legal ruling against the RMT comes just after the BA cabin crew had to ballot twice for strike action after a judge also declared their first ballot illegal, despite the fact that the petty unavoidable breaches of the letter of the law in no way affected the massive majority in favour of strike action.
This was also clearly a ruling class judgement, that put the commercial interests of BA well before the right of the working class to strike.
The Labour government, in this case as well, made it absolutely clear that it was opposed to the strike action, and was in complete support of BA. The government stated that the strike action was against the national interest.
The Unite trade union leaders, as well, did absolutely everything that they could to stop the action, by offering the boss 99 per cent of what he wanted and openly saying that they were not trying to defeat Walsh.
The strike took place because the BA boss was not willing to accept any kind of compromise – his real aim was to smash the union, not just to impose new terms and conditions of service.
This is the key to the situation. The crisis of British capitalism is so severe that to survive, it has to cripple, neuter, or smash trade unionism. This is why judges have begun routinely to declare strike actions illegal.
If nothing is done about this situation, the position will very quickly be arrived at where the next government will decide that, since strikes are against the national bourgeois interest, the right to strike should be suspended until the current world crisis of capitalism is over.
What requires to be done is that the trade unions must fight for the rights of the working class with at least the same aggressiveness and determination that Walsh and PM Brown fight for the bosses.
The trade unions must take every action that is necessary to defend the interests of the working class, including defying and smashing the ruling class’s anti-union laws. They must be prepared to take general strike action to bring down the government and to go forward to a workers government and socialism.
The current crop of ‘on your knees’ reformist trade union leaders are organically incapable of defying the ruling class, or fighting and defeating the anti-union laws and the ruling class. This is why they must be removed.
Only a Marxist revolutionary leadership of the type that is being built by the WRP will be able to do the required job.
This is why all workers who are determined not to pay the bill for the bosses’ crisis, and to defend their rights, must join the WRP today and build the revolutionary leadership that will take the working class forward to take the power and establish socialism.