Rail Maritime Transport union discussing disaffiliation from Labour

Posted: November 1, 2016 by Admin in At the coalface, Class Matters, Labour Party NZ, New Zealand politics, Political & economic power, State capitalism, Unions - NZ, Workers history, Workers' rights
And even stronger without the Labour Party. . .

And even stronger without the Labour Party. . .

The biennial delegates’ conference of the NZ Rail Maritime Transport union is currently underway in Wellington.  Among the matters being considered by delegates is disaffiliation from the Labour Party.  The RMT is one of the small handful of unions currently affiliated to Labour, an affiliation which took place following the collapse of the left social-democratic Alliance Party.

The disaffiliation motion comes from the Lyttelton branch, one which has been in several significant stoushes with the Lyttelton Port Company in recent years.  As we’ve noted on this blog, and previously in print publications such as The Spark and revolution, the ‘conventional’ Trotskyist analysis that radicalism in the working class would be expressed through the unions and then taken through the unions into the Labour Party was and remains wrong.

The Labour-union links simply provided a conduit for the bourgeois economic and political ideas of Labour to infect the unions and keep them subordinated to Labour and thus to capital.  Radicalisation in the unions, far from leading to attempts to reform Labour, lead to breaks with Labour as a capitalist party.

Below are links to some of the articles we have written on why unions should not support Labour.

Lyttelton Port workers take action

Ructions at Lyttelton Port 

Lyttelton solidarity with Ports of Auckland workers

Workers, unions and Labour: unravelling the myths

For a campaign for union disaffiliation from Labour

Wharfies fight shows futility of unions giving money to Labour

Union movement gathers for fairness at work – Labour gathers missionaries

“Appeasement doesn’t work – the bosses and their lackeys in government always want more”: Lyttelton RMT organiser

1949 Carpenters dispute: Labour and bosses versus the workers

Anti-working class to its core: the third Labour government (1972-75)

Unions need to break the chains that bind them to Labour



  1. Alan Scott says:

    Well, it’s taken long enough. How they managed to stick with Labour through the Lange years, I cannot imagine. Blind loyalty? Deliberate ignorance? Were the union leaders being paid off? There must have been something.

  2. Admin says:

    Alan, I don’t think they did. I think they – or their predecessor union – parted company with Labour long ago then, after the collapse of the Alliance, they reaffiliated. Lord knows why though!

  3. John Kerr says:

    The RMTU Conference has just voted to remain affliated to the NZLP

  4. Phil F says:

    I expected it would. But at least the issue was raised. There will probably need to be a higher level of struggle and also a real national network of workplace/left activists to campaign for a more class-struggle approach before unions like the RMT and MUNZ disaffiliate.