Union frontbenchers must be sacked if they picket lines during this week’s rail strikes, HuffPost UK has learned.
RMT union members will stage three strikes over disputes over jobs, pay and working conditions, the first of which will take place tomorrow.
“Conservatives have dubbed the industrial action ‘workers’ strikes’ because of the party’s close ties to the trade union movement.
In response, Labor has accused the government of not doing enough to stave off strike action and allow an agreement between employers and unions.
An email from Keir Starmer’s office to shadow cabinet members inviting them to a Zoom meeting about the strikes said: “We do not want these strikes to continue with the resulting public disruption.”
The message added: “However, we also need to show leadership and to that end please be reminded that front benchers are included [parliamentary private secretaries] should not be on picket lines.
“Please speak to all members of your team to remind them of this and confirm that you have done so.”
A shadow cabinet member told HuffPost UK: “It’s a sensible decision considering the Tories want to blame us for their mistakes. We must not fall into their trap.”
But the move has provoked an angry backlash from unions and left-wing MPs.
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham tweeted: “The Labor Party was founded by the unions and we expect Labor MPs to defend workers in word and deed. Telling Labor MPs not to picket workers speaks volumes
“You don’t lead by hiding. Nobody respects that. It’s time to decide whose side you’re on. workers or bad bosses?”
Manuel Cortes, Secretary General of the TSSA, tweeted: “Ridiculous nonsense from the party created by the unions. Solidarity is what our movement is about!”
Meanwhile, Labor MP Kate Osborne – a parliamentary private secretary shadowing Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Kyle – vowed to take her place on a picket line.
A Labor spokesman said: “Labour was clear that these strikes should not continue. Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps didn’t lift a finger to avert it and were more into politics than doing their jobs.”
A party source added: “If the public is disturbed for the rest of the week, people will be clear on who is responsible.”
https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/labour-frontbenchers-face-sack-picket-line_uk_62b0e662e4b06169ca9cdffe Labour Frontbenchers Face The Sack If They Go On Rail Strike Picket Lines