The leader of the Labor Party said he supports workers’ rights to strike but that members of the government should not picket
The opposition leader said: “You cannot sit at the cabinet table in government and then go to a picket line.”
Sir Keir made the comment with more train and tube strikes planned for later this year
This has drawn criticism from unions, with some arguing that Sir Keir’s position runs counter to original Labor Party values.
A spokesman for ASLEF told Mazic News: “The Labor Party was forged in the labor movement.
“It is a really odd proposition for a Labor leader to suggest that a Labor MP should not picket or support industrial action by hard-pressed workers… during a cost of living crisis.”
Several Labor MPs have also demonstrated their opposition by visiting pickets, risking disciplinary action.
Among those showing their support for striking rail workers was Labor MP Lisa Nandy, who took part in a picket line in her Wigan constituency earlier this month.
A spokeswoman for the Shadow Leveling Up secretary said she attended to “show her support for people fighting for better wages and conditions at a really difficult time,” adding Sir Keir was made aware of her plans been.
Carl Webb, regional secretary of the Communication Workers Union North West, thanked Ms Nandy on Twitter for her “solidarity”.
The Guardian also reported that frontbenchers Imran Hussain, shadow employment secretary, and Navendu Mishra, Labor whip, also visited CWU pickets – in Bradford and Stockport respectively.
According to reports, no disciplinary action has been taken so far.
This comes after Sir Keir sacked Shadow Transport Secretary Sam Tarry after appearing at a picket line at Euston Station in London, where the MP was also giving radio interviews.
The Labor leader said he sacked Mr Tarry for attending a media program “without permission” and engaging in politics “on the hoof”.
Sir Keir recently told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he “fully supports the right to strike” but wants the Labor Party “to be in government, not in opposition”.
He said: “The most important thing we can do for everyone who is struggling to make ends meet, whether they are on strike or not, is a Labor government.
“When you’re in government, your job is to solve problems and come to the table.”
The MP for Holborn and St Pancras echoed these sentiments in an article he wrote for the Mirror, commenting that he “totally understands[s] why people are striking for better wages and better conditions’, but that his focus is on transforming Labor from ‘a party of protest into a party that can come to power’.
Why are railway workers on strike?
Workers are on strike as part of a long-running dispute over wages and working conditions.
Aslef members voted to take action after the union said the companies had not made a wage offer to help members keep up with the rise in the cost of living.
The RMT also squabbles over wages, jobs and working conditions, and members continue to strike after a “paltry” offer from transport company Network Rail.
RMT, TSSA and Unite members will hold two days of industrial action on Thursday 18th August and Saturday 20th August.
These strikes will affect 40,000 Network Rail employees and affect 14 train operators.
A separate strike by TfL London Underground and Underground workers is planned for Friday 19 August and more than 1,600 London bus drivers are also due to strike on the same day.