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RMT Conference Rail workers back nationalisation of banks

CONRAD LANDIN reports from Edinburgh

RAIL WORKERS overwhelmingly voted for the nationalisation of Britain’s banks yesterday as new research suggested that 12,000 jobs were at risk from branch closures.

Delegates at rail union RMT’s annual general meeting endorsed a resolution which stated that “democratic public ownership” of banks was “the only way to guarantee proper regulation of the banking and finance sector.”

Proposing the motion, Bakerloo Line delegate Jim McDaid said: “The banks have failed, we saw that during the crash, and they failed miserably.

“If the steel industry fails, there are job losses. If the banks fail, we bail them out.”

London Underground worker Peter Woods said he thought the motion did not go “far enough.”

He said: “We’ve seen the banks nationalised and then handed back to the same failed capitalists on the cheap.

“What my branch has a problem with is, would we be bailing them out with compensation?”

But Birmingham rail delegate Ted Woodley said it was in accordance with the aim set out in the union rule book to create a “socialist system of society.”

“There’s an old saying that you can’t control what you don’t own,” Mr Woodley said.

“We only seem to nationalise things when they go wrong.”

RMT assistant general secretary Mick Lynch concurred: “If you don’t have democratic control of the creation of wealth, the creation of money, you will not achieve a socialist system of society.”

He said “democratic control of the economy” was “what we’ve been aiming for since the start of trade unions.”

Meanwhile a report by DJB Research banking and financial services analyst David Black, commissioned by the Nottingham Building Society, said “some 2,400 branches could still be closed” by Britain’s top five banks.

This would mean closing around a quarter of the existing branch networks of Lloyds, RBS, NatWest, Barclays and HSBC.

Research from consumer group Which? shows that 670 branches have already been closed this year. But the 2018 total is likely to exceeded the last year’s 879 closures.

Central Line West delegate Adrian Libberton-Rowe told RMT AGM the problem was “not the people who work in the local banks,” who were “worried because they’re closing local branches.”

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