Socialist Party
| Print

14 May 2014

Transport workers' international meeting

Steve Metcalfe, RMT delegate to WFTU

On 25 April the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) held the transport workers' section conference in London.

Delegates from France (CGT), UK (RMT), Germany, Italy (CGIL), Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and the Republic of Ireland attended, giving detailed reports prior to the euro elections of 22 May.

The disgraceful role of the neoliberal and social democratic parties in abetting the anti-labour policies of the neoliberal European Union were roundly condemned by all.

Particularly mindful were delegates of the EU/EC's plans for Minimum Services Requirement laws for public transport ie, a virtual transport strike ban. The phrase in the WFTU general secretary George Mavrikos' report was "penalising union struggles" and the employers' desire to "eliminate the right to strike". The stance is militant and unequivocal.

Another EC directive targeted for destruction was the Fourth Railway Package which 'reforms' European railways by privatisation of all European railways on the same model implemented by successive Tory and Labour governments in Britain, even though this has obviously been a failure.

This is seen as an integral part of the plans of monopoly capitalism to attack the historical conquests of the working class and break the resistance of the railway workers in their respective countries. Needless to say this statement was passed 100%.

Discussion then passed to the vicious attacks on workers' rights especially in south east Europe, Greece and Cyprus. We then moved on to the danger of war, in which transport workers would be in the firing line, especially in light of the Ukraine crisis.

The conference was a positive development. International working class solidarity is the order of the day.

What I say is we also need a new workers' international generally to lead our movement towards socialism.