It was clear from today's RMT meetings that the majority of reps recognise the need for more strike action, and believe that rank-and-file members are up for it so long as they are kept informed about the issues.
There are undoubtedly areas where support for action is not 100%, but dropping the fight because of weak spots is not an option, as we would be living with the consequences for years to come.
It is not ideal to be in dispute over several issues, as this can cause confusion. Add to that management's deliberate attempts to spread confusion through their propaganda, the mischief-making and/or inaction of the other unions, and the fact that RMT itself has not always been the best at explaining itself (though this is improving) - and you have an urgent need for clear information and argument. The key messages need to be that:
- We don't have to settle for a crap pay deal because the bankers and the capitalist system caused a recession.
- Our jobs are under threat and we have to defend them.
- We are not going to put up with management bullying any more.
But while the union must explain the issues to the workforce, it will never persuade management of the justice of our case just by talking. LUL has proved over and again that it only understands the language of industrial action. Without the pressure of named dates for strikes, management have no incentive to conceded anything further during negotiations.
So get those picket armbands at the ready.