RMT members will soon get their ballot papers in the election for National President.
Tubeworker’s vote will go to John Leach, because we believe that he has the most commitment to rank-and-file members and to fighting the employers. He has a record of doing this, including leading unofficial action in defiance of the anti-union laws. He has also stood up to Bob Crow and the union bureaucracy, and will not simply be a bag-carrier for the General Secretary.
The other leading candidate, Ray Knight, is the nearest you get to a Blairite within RMT. He would spend his term as President doing his best to avoid any confrontation between the union and the employers or the government. Rail and Tube workers will lose out from this approach.
John is also the best candidate in terms of his respect for democracy, his genuine commitment to fighting discrimination, and his views on where the union’s political support should go (ie. only to socialists, not to liberals or nationalists).
Tubeworker has disagreed with some things that John has done on the National Executive. If he is elected President, he will probably do some things that we disagree with again. He will not change the way the union runs as much as Tubeworker would like – but he will change things for the better, and there is no other name on the ballot paper that we can say that about.
But remember – rank-and-file members getting organised is the best way to make any union leader deliver!
As a non-RMT member who's interested, could I ask what the DIFFERENCES between Michelle and John are, both in terms of industrial issues and broader political ones.
Also, are there just three candidates or more?
Politically ... John is a socialist, and (correct me if I am wrong) the only candidate to say so on his branch circulars. He believes that the union's political support should only go to socialist candidates on the basis on working-class political representation, not to liberals, nationalists etc. He supports the LRC and John McDonnell's campaign. He was also instrumental in getting the RMT to support the Socialist Unity candidature in Hackney Central; opposes the union backing Respect; and has successfully argued to keep the RMT affiliated to the Scottish Socialist Party after the recent split.
I don't know Michelle's views on any of these, but Tubeworker hears that at the one head-to-head hustings between them, Michelle was pretty vague about her political standpoint.
Industrially, John is not the perfect Tubeworker candidate, but on a few key occasions, he has stood up to the union bureaucracy to prevent it selling out disputes. Please tell us if Michelle has ever done this. However, in her 20 years of active involvement in the RMT, she has not build a reputation for standing up to the bureaucracy, whereas over the last few years, John has.
He has also played a leading role in several industrial disputes in his region, but then again, Michelle might have done that too.
One further point. Much of the impetus behind Michelle's campaign seems to be coming from members of RMT's Organising Unit. Tubeworker does not believe it is right for appointed staff members to be organising to influence the result of union elections in this way.
I don't think that's a great principle, no.
No-one has ever proposed that RMT rules should de-bar people who already hold one full-time post from standing for another.
And the President can't restand at the end of their three-year term.
Oh dear, a bit touchy, are we?
Nothing, nothing at all, in Tubeworker's earlier posts accuses anyone of using the Org Unit as a resource to support Michelle.
It clearly says "members of the organising unit" not "the organising unit". Tubeworker stands by our view that it is inappropriate for members of staff to be organising for a candidate. Yes, we know the union's rules allow it, but that does not mean that we have to agree with it.
Perhaps you should withdraw your unfounded, unsubstantiated and irresponsible accusation that Tubeworker made unfounded, unsubstantiated and irresponsible accusations against you.