RMT membership passes 80,000 as OILC merger is completed
RMT: April 23 2008
MEMBERSHIP OF National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers passed the 80,000 mark today as the transfer of engagements of the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee into RMT was officially approved by the Certification Officer.
OILC's 2,500-plus members voted to become RMT's offshore branch by a four-to-one margin in a postal ballot held in February, after the move was recommended by its annual conference in Aberdeen last October.
The merger, which will be launched formally on May Day, had already been endorsed by a special general meeting of RMT, held in Doncaster last March, and was backed by the entire OILC executive.
RMT membership has already grown by nearly 40 per cent since 2002, when it stood at 57,000, and the addition of more than 2,500 more offshore members - the union already organises offshore divers and catering staff - propels it past the 80,000 mark for the first time since 1993.
"Together we will be stronger, and that means more industrial clout for the benefit of all our members," said RMT general secretary Bob Crow today.
"This is a golden opportunity to step up organising in an industry in which billions are made yet there is too little regard to health and safety and employers are quick to victimise workers who dare to organise for better conditions and pay," Bob Crow said.
"Joining forces with a union built on grass-roots involvement and which fights for workers' rights can do nothing but good in a sector that is notoriously difficult to organise," said outgoing OILC general secretary Jake Molloy, who becomes lead officer for the new RMT offshore branch.
"Together we will have the resources and the experience to organise for better safety and to win better pay and conditions and job security for offshore workers."
Notes to editors: In February's OILC ballot 807 members (79.6 per cent) voted for the transfer of engagements, and 207 (20.4 per cent) against.
OILC organises offshore engineering, drilling, construction and support workers, and was set up following the 1988 Piper Alpha disaster, which claimed 167 lives.
RMT, Britain's fastest growing union, already organises divers and catering workers in the offshore industry, as well as across the rail, road transport and maritime sectors, and recently won its more than 900 North Sea divers and support staff a 45 per cent pay rise after a ten-day, all-out strike.