Labor leader sacked after defying Starmer’s order to stay away from rail strike picket line Register for free to continue reading Register for free to continue reading

Keir Starmer sparked a furious reaction from unions on Wednesday night by sacking a leader who joined striking rail workers on the picket line.

He acted swiftly to sack Sam Tarry after the shadow transport minister defied orders by giving television interviews alongside strikers in London.

It came as Aslef announced another walkout on Saturday 13 August affecting nine rail companies, in addition to the action planned for this Saturday.

Meanwhile, unions expressed fury at government plans to toughen laws on industrial action, with RMT leader Mick Lynch suggesting he would back a general strike if Liz Truss became prime minister on a platform to “effectively prohibit collective action.”

A package of measures set out by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, a supporter of Rishi Sunak’s bid to succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, was slammed as “undemocratic” by the TUC, while Unite said it would find with “a fierce and prolonged resistance”. ” by the workers.

Sir Keir warned his party’s shadow ministers on Tuesday not to join picket lines in a one-day walkout by RMT members seeking a better pay offer.

“The Labor Party in opposition must be the Labor Party in power,” said Starmer, who was mocked by the Conservatives for not penalizing such action during a previous round of strikes. “And a government doesn’t go on picket lines, a government tries to resolve disputes.”

A Labor spokesman said: “This is not about appearing on a picket line. Frontbenchers are committed to collective responsibility. This includes approving media appearances and speaking to positions of agreed upon

“As a government-in-waiting, any breach of collective responsibility is taken very seriously and for these reasons, Sam Tarry has been removed from the front bench.”

But Tarry, a former TSSA transport union official who helped run Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign, said he was “proud” to join the striking rail workers.

Sam Tarry (centre) joined the RMT picket line outside Euston station


“It has been a privilege to serve on the Labor bench for the past two years and to have had the opportunity to speak up for struggling workers who deserve far better than the treatment they have received from this corrupt and out of line. -tap the government,” said the Ilford South MP.

“I remain committed to supporting striking rail workers and campaigning for a Labor victory at the next general election, which I will fight tirelessly from the backbenches.”

And he warned that the Labor leadership was on a “direct collision course” with the unions over the strikes, revealing in an interview with LBC that he had received calls from seven union general secretaries – six of them affiliated to the party- that they were “fuming” about their dismissal.

The general secretary of the TSSA, Manuel Cortés, said that Mr. Tarry “did the right thing and stood with the railroad workers on strike for justice and safety on the job.”

“The Labor Party needs to wake up and smell the coffee,” he said. “If they think they can win the next general election while alienating seven million trade unionists, they are deluded.

“We expect attacks from the Tories, we don’t expect attacks from our own party. As a trade union, our union is ashamed of the actions of the leadership of the Labor Party and the anti-union anti-worker message it is sending.

“This is a bad day for our movement. And if Keir Starmer does not understand the basic concept of solidarity on which our movement has been built, he is not fit to lead our party.”

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Shapps said he wanted to complete Margaret Thatcher’s “unfinished business” by controlling union power.

After legislating to allow agency workers to be used as strikebreakers, he laid out plans for additional measures including:

  • Prohibition of strikes by different unions in the same workplace in a given period
  • A limit of six pickets in critical locations and a ban on intimidating language
  • Requirements for new ballots in each industrial action and a minimum threshold of 50 percent, compared to 40 percent of those eligible to vote now
  • Increase in minimum strike notice from two to four weeks
  • Minimum service levels during strike action on critical infrastructure such as rail

“The default strategy adopted by the RMT and others in industrial relations – their casual, routine and brutal recourse to the strike weapon – must end,” Shapps said. “Only then will this country move toward a high-productivity, high-wage 21st century economy that benefits all workers.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady described the Shapps package as “an attack on the fundamental right to strike… anti-democratic and anti-worker”.

“While millions struggle to get by, ministers are falling over themselves to try to find new ways to limit workers’ ability to negotiate higher pay,” he said.

And general secretary Sharon Graham said: “If Grant Shapps had his way we’d all be in the workhouse.”

Describing the current cost of living crisis as “the latest episode in a long-term war on workers’ living standards”, Ms Graham said: “I will make no apologies for demanding and winning fair pay rises for my members and no action to effectively. remove the ability to strike will be met with fierce and prolonged resistance.”

Earlier this week, Ms Truss promised “tough action to stop unions crippling the country” if she becomes prime minister, including legislation to impose minimum service levels on critical national infrastructure.

He also pledged to raise voting thresholds from 40 to 50 per cent to make it harder for union bosses to secure support for industrial action.

Lynch predicted “a huge response from the trade union movement” if Ms Truss’ plans went ahead, saying her union would support a general strike, but acknowledged it was a TUC decision.

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