About Trade Unions and CND
As part of CND’s campaigning, CND works with many trade union groups to achieve our shared goal of scrapping nuclear weapons. Trade unions are an important part of the fight against Trident, and it’s no surprise that many trade unions are affiliated with CND. CND regularly attends trade union conferences and works closely with our natural allies to spread the nuclear disarmament message throughout civil society.
UNISON, PCS, RMT, FBU, TSSA, NUT, NUM, the Musicians’ Union and ASLEF are all nationally affiliated to CND. Unite North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regions are also affiliated, as well as regions and branches from across the trade unions, together with trades councils from around the country.
Many other unions have also supported CND’s call to scrap Trident. Why not check out your own union’s policy?
- To affiliate as a national or regional trade union, a local branch or a trades councils please use this form.
- The CND Trade Union campaign can be reached at: email@example.com or 020 7700 2393.
Trade Union opposition to Trident
In 2013, the TUC re-affirmed its opposition to Trident replacement: ‘Public finances can also be improved by addressing tax avoidance and scrapping the replacement of Trident. Money saved by ending our nuclear weapons system could be used to sustain the process of defence diversification, vital to our manufacturing future.’ [CWU motion ‘Economic Policy’]
The motion, which passed overwhelmingly, was supported by the TSSA, FBU, FDA, and Unite. ‘Such a policy would need to ensure that the jobs and skills of tens of thousands of workers in the sector were preserved.’ This corresponds with CND’s calls for Britain’s skilled workforce to manufacture for peace not war and with the publication of the Nuclear Education Trust’s ‘Barrow Inquiry’.
‘Tagging on behind the coattails of US imperialism is not a role we should continue with. We want to be a force for peace. Trident, and its replacement, only makes sense if you envisage our country’s future as enforcing some sort of order upon the world.’
This is not the future desired by the majority of people in Britain. Nothing demonstrates this as clearly as the Parliamentary vote against bombing Syria. Confused as the process may have seemed, the position finally carried was one that reflects the war weariness of the British public. This opposition is essentially a product of the work of CND, the Stop the War Coalition and all those who have argued consistently against military assaults upon poor and developing countries.” Read the full text of Billy Hayes’ speech to the TUC here.
Why trade unionists opposes Trident
“As a Trade Unionist and a Socialist there is a moral position when it comes to Trident – I don’t want the UK to produce weapons which could kill tens of thousands of innocent people.” – Tony Kearns, Senior Deputy General Secretary of the CWU.
Just one Trident warhead is eight times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan which killed over 200,000 people. Britain currently has approximately 220 of these bombs. Trident is the same system that was originally designed to “flatten Moscow”. Research shows that if it were ever used it could result in 5.4 million deaths. Its very existence is immoral and illegal.
For many working people, the main reason to oppose Trident, besides its lethal immorality, is its extreme cost.
The current bill for replacing Trident is at least £205 billion. Trident sucks billions out of the MOD budget, as well as the wider economy, leading to widespread job cuts across the armed forces. At this time of cuts to jobs, housing and public services, £205 billion could be better spent elsewhere.
Across the country, unions are organising the fight back against austerity. Trident must not be ignored in this debate. To find out what you can do, click here.
Trident and Jobs
Many trade unions oppose the replacement of Trident on principle but have concerns about replacement jobs for workers employed by the nuclear weapons industry.
Trident and jobs: the employment implications of cancelling Trident replacement : This CND report looks at how the money saved by not replacing Trident could be used for a massive level of investment that would create many more jobs than the current or future nuclear weapons systems can provide.
Defence Diversification: international learning for Trident jobs : read this independent report by the Nuclear Education Trust which concludes that it would be possible to disarm the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system without massive job losses, on the basis of evidence from defence diversification projects around the world.
CND and Trade Union support throughout the years
Since the establishment of the Campaign in 1958, trade unions have been at the forefront of spreading our message. As early as 1960 the Transport and General Workers’ Union took a stance in favour of disarmament and in 1961 won the position at the Labour Party Conference.
In the 1960s and 1980s, many trade union branches sent their banners on CND demonstrations, as well as sending donations and delegations to peace camps at bases such as Greenham Common and Molesworth.
We thank all our Trade Union affiliates for their support and hope that you will also join us in securing peace and safety for our world.
Each year CND attends the Tolpuddle Festival. At our Talking in Tents event in 2011, CND asked Trade Unionists what they would invest in if they were in Government. Would they spend money revitalising the NHS, building tens of thousands of new homes, caring for the elderly and funding playgroups, schools and universities?
Or would they spend on a nuclear weapons system with the power to kill millions upon millions of people and render large parts of the planet uninhabitable?
CND’s Tolpuddle Talking in Tents event was an open discussion that aimed to find the common ground between those who want to scrap Trident and those whose jobs depend on nuclear weapons. Read more.
The passing of RMT General Secretary Bob Crow
CND was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of RMT General Secretary Bob Crow in March 2014. A towering figure in the Trade Union movement, Bob was a dedicated and long standing CND supporter.
At the 2006 TUC Congress, it was Bob Crow who moved the RMT resolution declaring opposition to the replacement of Trident. Following a passionate debate, the resolution was carried overwhelmingly to set TUC policy.
Bob’s favourite analogy for job diversification and Trident was that after society outlawed capital punishment, new jobs had to be found for the executioners – and this goes for Trident too.
For more information on CND and Trade Unions, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7700 2393.