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Transport workers to defy plans to force unions to provide scabs during strike action

TRANSPORT workers vowed today to defy proposed new laws forcing unions to provide staff to run skeleton services during strike action.

Delegates at the annual general meeting of transport union RMT in Leeds voted unanimously to refuse to provide “minimum service levels” in key sectors such as public transport during strikes.

In December 2019, the government vowed to introduce legislation aimed at transport workers after RMT members waged a campaign of strikes in an effort to keep safety-critical guards on trains.

Under the proposals, any strike where unions refused to provide teams of scabs to run essential services would be declared unlawful.

The delegates endorsed a “policy of non-compliance” if the government carries out its threat.

The motion was first proposed for the union’s 2020 annual meeting during the coronavirus lockdown.

Delegate Daniel Randall, who works on London Underground, told the conference: “This union exists to organise strikes, not to sabotage them.”

The motion, proposesd by the union’s Bakerloo branch on the London Underground, stated: “This attack demands a large-scale, assertive campaign from the RMT and other transport unions alongside united resistance across the labour movement. It is an attack on transport workers and workers’ organisation in general.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The really dangerous part for us is that they may make it impossible for us to ballot on strike action if we do not have an agreement in place with the employer on minimum service levels.”

The motion also called for a national demonstration against the proposed new law.

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