I have just got back from speaking at the RMT annual conference in Edinburgh. I remember the derisory comments of some in the Labour Party and in the trade unions when Bob Crow was elected RMT General Secretary and his Executive Committee developed the union's campaigning approach to recruitment, training and representation of its members.
The media went to town on personal attacks on Bob and abuse of the union.
There is no doubt that the RMT is a fighting union. It forcefully stands up for its members and is usually the first to come to aid other unions or campaigns in their struggles both in this country and interantionally.
The result is a union that in only a few years has increased its membership by nearly 50% and has secured for its members increases in pay, improved employment conditions and protection of their pensions at a time when all of these have been under attack across industry.
Such anger has built up across the movement over pay cuts and privatisation job cuts that in the coming months a range of other unions will be at the forefront of protecting the jobs and living statndards of their members. This Friday I will be joining the CWU picket lines as postal workers take action tio protect their jobs and our postal service. Through the summer and into an autumn of discontent PCS, Unison, GMB, Unite, NUT and UCU will all be either preparing for or taking action against cuts in their members pay and further rounds of privatisation.
It is becomimg starkly clear that if co-ordinated action could be achieved their individual campaigns would be irresistable. RMT lead the way today by announcing that the planned rail strike could be coincided with a CWU strike day.
The incoming Prime Minister needs to be aware that his imposition of a three year pay cut for public service workers and his contnuing privatisation of their jobs will haunt him all the way up to the next election unless a change in policy takes place. The feel I get from trade union conference after conference is that public sector workers will only be pushed so far.