KEIR Starmer has come under fire over the rail dispute for sacking a junior spokesman for acting outside his brief.
It doesn’t seem to matter that the Labour leader proposes the biggest increase in worker’s rights for nearly 70 years. His plans for fair pay agreements will end poverty wages.
They’re part of Labour’s new deal for 31 million people, designed to improve wages, security, and rights at work, including extending Statutory Sick Pay to all workers.
Many folks I meet are enthusiastic about such plans, but some always find attacks on the leadership easier than criticising the Tories. I’ve nothing against the sacked Sam Tarry. He’s welcome to give interviews and suggest a pay norm, but should do it as a backbencher not a shadow minister.
It was also a bit discourteous to colleague, Tan Dhesi, who is the shadow minister for railways. Ministers have used the strikes to conjure up 80s images of mass picketing and excessive union power. Rail strikes are inconvenient for those using the trains but this is perfectly legal industrial action, conducted according to trade union laws introduced by Margaret Thatcher.
It hasn’t stopped the Tories threatening new legislation designed to cripple the unions.
The government argues the strikes are about unreasonable demands but says nothing about one rail group handing £500 million to its shareholders, despite reduced passenger numbers or Abellio, who run West Midlands Railways, giving £305 million of our money to its single shareholder which just happens to be the Dutch State Railway.
They say workers should expect pay cuts to reduce inflation, but ignore the £5 million pay deals enjoyed by the Chief Execs of our six largest rail companies.
Why is the government prolonging this dispute and encouraging such unfairness? Rail workers have a good case.