Frederick Douglass

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them..." Frederick Douglass

Thursday, May 5, 2011

London Transit Strike Story Update

The articles I read in the British press about the RMT's strike vote seemed to suggest that only 29% of those who voted supported the strike action. I wrote to the RMT for clarification and received this response from Bob Crow of the Industrial Relations Department:

Thanks for your note of solidarity. Yes the article was completely misleading. Yes 29% voted for strike action but that was 75% of those who voted. Don't think I have ever heard of an election where 100% voted so its a bit of a weak point. Anyway thanks for your message.

Yours in Solidarity
Bob Crow

In other words, about 40% of membership voted and three in four opted for the strike. Some might think the turnout low, and that it reflects apathy and/or ambivalence, but in fact the opposite is true. It is a rare issue indeed which gets forty percent of the membership to show and vote, at least in my experience. And many who don't vote refrain in the confidence that there is so much support for their side of the issue that their vote would be superfluous. It is much more likely that members supporting the strike wouldn't turn out than those determined to prevent it. Even if I'm mistaken in that regard, only one in three of non-voters would have to support the strike for the "yes" faction to constitute a majority. Clearly, despite what you read in the British press, the strike action is supported by most of the union membership.

The media which wrote the disingenuous articles [linked to in the original post:] have an agenda--class war. The ultimate goal is privatization, for which the strike would be pretext.

One last point: I cannot speak for the RMT or its membership, but I hope and quite expect that the bourgeois media's calls for changes in union voting rules and protocols will go unheeded. Why? Because it's none of their fucking business.