BY KEEF TOMKINSON
From its birth, the Scottish Socialist Party has called on trade unions to break their link with the British Labour Party. On July 1, the 65,000-strong British Rail Maritime and Transport union decided that branches could affiliate to parties other than Labour. The RMT's general secretary, Bob Crow, went further, calling on Scottish branches to back the SSP.
The RMT helped found the Labour Party in 1899 and its decision will impact on the entire trade union movement. The July 2 Independent reported that a senior Labour official had said that the decision would breach the Labour Party constitution.
Labour's constant offensive on workers' rights and wages, its attacks on firefighters and its warmongering forced the union to seek an alternative.
The SSP has gained huge respect from trade unionists by supporting strikes, within both public and private sectors. SSP activists Carolyn Leckie and Rosemary Byrne were prominent trade unionists when they were elected to the Scottish parliament in May.
The SSP, which was already looking to raise in parliament the re-nationalisation of Scotland's rail network, welcomed the decision.