Last month, an unelected, unaccountable, (probably) octogenarian, public-school-educated chap in a wig ruled that RMT's ballot for industrial action on EDF Powerlink was illegal.
It was something about the precise grade title of an engineer or a technician not being exactly "engineer" or "technician". Whatever the pretext, it was not a genuine reason but an excuse. The honourable wig-wearer was appalled that the slaves were getting restless and knew that his job was to slap them back into their places.
For the past thirty years, governments - at the behest of employers - have armed themselves with anti-union laws. Under the guise of 'fairness', they have created some of the most unfair laws you can imagine. The one that RMT fell foul of is a law that unions must give employers shedloads of information about the members they are balloting for strikes, so that the employer can as effectively as possible organise to break the strike - first by campaigning for a No vote, then by organising cover for strikers.
It's like having a law that if Accrington Stanley play Manchester United, then Accrington have to send United their full team sheet, complete with tactical plan and personal details of every player, and any mistake can get the match forfeited and United declared the winners!
Undaunted, RMT is appealing against this ludicrous, anti-working-class decision, and is reballoting its members at EDF Powerlink. It also double-checked its the information it was sending to London Underground for our pay ballot. The problem is that the double-checking took six weeks. There was no way that it needed to take that long, so RMT members are beginning to suspect that as well as being a genuine obstacle to unions organising ballots, the EDF ruling was also a convenient pretext for union leaders who wanted to slow the ballot down because they would rather it all went away. At least the ballot is now going ahead, but momentum has undoubtedly been lost.
The problem for workers is that when management see union head offices dragging their feet like that, they will not be inclined to offer us very much. Why should they?