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Voices of Scotland Join RMT and CND to put Trident back on the political agenda

With events in the Korean peninsula increasing public awareness of the nuclear threat, it is important we educate our movement on the dangers of ‘us’ possessing these weapons of mass destruction, says PAUL SHAW

IF YOU are unhappy with weapons of mass destruction on the banks of the Clyde or anywhere else on this island, then Peace Academy 2018 is for you.

For many years the RMT and CND have had a close relationship and jointly they have something special for the CND 60th birthday. 

For the RMT it has been a pleasure to be involved in the inaugural Peace Academy being held in Glasgow from July 27-29.

The event itself is being organised by Peace Education Scotland (Scottish CND Education). If you haven’t yet heard of the Peace Academy, it is a free three-day training course on all aspects of campaigning work, with a particular focus on the nuclear disarmament movement. 

However, the work of other organisations involved in peace, justice and human rights issues will also be looked at during the event.

At a time when the nuclear issue is moving to the top of the political agenda, it is important that we continue to educate our movement on the dangers of “us” possessing these weapons of mass destruction. 

There is a real chance that the on/off talks between the Koreas and the US will lead to the denuclearisation of the peninsula, so removing them from the Clyde would appear to be in step with how the world is going.

The Peace Academy will be a great way to start the discussions needed to put Trident renewal and the continued existence these weapons on the Clyde back on the political agenda here in Britain.      

It will cover topics such as communication tactics, lobbying activities, grassroots empowerment, online engagement, fundraising tools and much more.      

RMT president Sean Hoyle will be among those attending and he will be speaking about RMT industrial successes through being organised and actively campaigning.      

There will also be a chance to take part in action sessions where participants will get a chance to do practical things, creating a press release and making a campaigning video, along with opportunities to practise public speaking and work on the most effective ways to lobby politicians.      

Free accommodation for participants has been arranged at the SYHA Scottish Youth Hostel in Park Circus, Glasgow, and the conference venue is Strathclyde University Union in Glasgow city centre.  

There will be a visit to Mugstock Music Festival to create a giant Human CND sign and the social element does not stop there, with the Saturday night shaping up well too and some surprises planned.      

There will also be a trip to see the extent of the Faslane nuclear weapons base, which takes place on Sunday July 29, alongside a visit to Faslane Peace Camp with an opportunity to meet the peace campers — people who’ve decided to live and campaign there.  

The Peace Camp has been in the area for 37 years and undoubtedly shows the commitment and endurance of those involved in ridding the world of nuclear weapons.      

Details have already been sent to all Scottish RMT young members and we are also hopeful of a turnout from across the trade union movement as a whole.      

If you are reading this and interested, get in touch soon as places are likely to go quickly. Alternatively, if you know of anyone who could be interested, then let them know. The details of how to make contact are in the link above.

The RMT, STUC and TUC are all opposed to the replacement of the Trident programme. However, we recognise that it continues to be a sensitive subject for the trade union movement as many jobs are reliant on this multibillion-pound industry.  

But we believe that these highly skilled and reasonably well-paid workers can and should be found alternative more socially useful employment. 

We do not want more workers on the dole and the need for a proactive job diversification programme financed by both Scots and Westminster governments will explored at the academy.

As the late Bob Crow once said, “What about when we used to hang people? We had chief executioners! We had to diversify and find new jobs for them.”

In 2006, Bob moved the following motion at the TUC that was overwhelmingly supported: “Congress believes that Britain’s nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction and capable of killing millions of people and are tied into US military and foreign policy and, far from deterring nuclear threats, replacing Trident may increase the risk of nuclear conflict.”

This is still the policy of our movement. The deadline for applications is Saturday June 30 and information on how to apply can be found at peaceeducationscotland.org.

Paul Shaw is a member of the RMT national executive committee.

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