Steve Hedley, an officer with the RMT in Britain has used frank and direct speech to describe what the Tory Prime Minister is and what he represents! This has resulted in an attack on him, led by The Sun newspaper, and his suspension by the Union's executive which caved in to the demands of the Right wing press. As with the fake anti-semitism campaign against Corbyn if the Right makes any gain they will keep coming back for more. We stand in international solidarity with Steve Hedley and the rank and file members of the RMT union in their demands for his immediate reinstatement!
Below is a statement from the Finsbury Park branch of the RMT:
16 April 2020
"Finsbury Park branch RMT the biggest traffic branch in London and maybe the whole union have passed this motion unanimously with several officers and senior reps speaking in length in support
This branch notes the recent communication from our General Secretary Mick Cash informing us that the Senior Assistant General Secretary Steve Hedley has been suspended by the union pending a formal investigation following a special meeting of the NEC. This branch notes that the decision to suspend Steve was taken without him being given the opportunity to address the NEC.
The suspension is related to comments Steve made on Facebook in a personal capacity about Boris Johnson and the Tory cabinet. This branch believes that Steve in a personal capacity should be allowed to voice his personnel opinions on politicians which many in our union including the great and sadly departed Bob Crow have done in the past. This branch notes that Bob Crow was vilified by the anti RMT right wing Tory media and by anti RMT Tory sympathisers as is happening to Steve Hedley in the present day.
This branch believes that it was a needless knee jerk reaction suspending Steve and that in doing so our NEC has been seen to have succumbed to an anti RMT right wing Tory media led by the Sun newspaper who will believe that their efforts have gave them a prized RMT scalp to parade and will embolden them further to attack our union, our officials, our Reps and our members. Our union and our members are continually vilified by anti RMT right wing Tory media and their sympathisers when we take action to defend our terms and conditions and this needless suspension of our Senior Assistant General Secretary will only serve them to take that to new levels in attacking our members.
This branch is particularly disgusted that the Sun newspaper which is an enemy of the working class has led with the story and the vilification of Steve. This is the same newspaper that after the Hillsbourough disaster (where 96 people aged from 10 to 67 lost their lives) claimed in a front page spread with the headline "The Truth" "some fans picked pocket of victims. Some fans urinated on brave cops. Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life". That newspaper ran and ran with their vilification of the dead and the survivors of Hillsborough. All of it lies. It took that right wing Tory loving newspapers owners 23 years to give an apology and only then because the Hillsborough inquiry laid bare their lies for the world to see. This is the same newspaper who are responsible for the vilification of Steve and over the years our union and our members.
This branch believes that there were other options open to the NEC other than suspending Steve and note that it seems that none of these were looked at and question why that was. This branch believes that in suspending Steve the NEC have taken out one of our most senior experienced and effective officials at a time when he has never been needed more. We have members all over the country working for unscrupulous employers whose deplorable actions are putting their lives at risk through the coronavirus crisis and taking their livelihoods from them with policies where if you don't work and put your life at risk you won't get paid. Members being furloughed, members being pressurised to work up safely. This branch believes that in the midst of this our union has done those members a disservice by suspending Steve who would otherwise be leading the fight against those employers. This branch believes that Steve is one of the most high profile officials in our union and our union needs him at the forefront of our response to employers attacking our members at this time of crisis.
This branch believes that the Tory government over the last 10 years and in previous governments is responsible for the death of thousands of working class people with their anti working class austerity cuts. Cuts to essential services for the disabled and those suffering from mental health problems which have undoubtably claimed lives. Disasterous military operations abroad which have cost thousands of lives. In his comments on Facebook Steve highlighted some of these Tory policies which have cost lives and this branch believes that he was right to do so.
Furthermore thousands more people will be dead by the end of the current Covid-19 crisis because of how it was so badly handled by this Tory government. Our thoughts are with those people.
This branch has serious concerns about how this matter has been handled by the union, and how the special NEC was convened. This branch does not believe that due consideration was given to the matter before the General Secretary called a special meeting of the NEC.
This branch calls on the NEC to immediately reverse this decision while these matters are investigated. Any decision should only be made after Steve has had the chance to address the NEC and answer any questions.
Furthermore we demand that our union never take lessons in decency from the Sun newspaper or any other parts of the right wing Tory gutter media and never again bow to pressure from them in taking decisions such as the one taken to suspend Steve."