Keir Starmer’s relations with trade unions are about to get a whole lot shakier.
The TSSA rail union has announced strikes that will coincide with the Labour Party conference in Liverpool next month. The union said that a 24-hour walkout would begin at midday on 26 September, running into 27 September.
In a further blow to Sir Keir’s party, the TSSA has called for Labour MPs to join them on the picket line, a month after Sam Tarry, the Labour MP for Ilford North, was sacked for defying party policy and joining the RMT union’s picket line.
Manuel Cortes, the leader of the TSSA, has not shied away from the union’s intentional targeting of the Labour conference, saying that he “will be standing on our picket line in Liverpool and will be encouraging fellow delegates and Labour MPs to do likewise, so they can rightly show they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those fighting the Tories’ cost of living crisis.”
The TSSA’s call for Labour MPs to join the picket line, comes just days after Sharon Graham, the general secretary of the Unite union lambasted Starmer’s “no picketing” policy, insisting he needs to “get a spine,” and “stick up for workers.”
“It is more likely they (Labour) would get elected more if they spoke up for workers more,” Graham said.
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If Labour MPs answer the call, could this be the beginning of the end for Sir Keir? If they don’t, will the unions start to cut ties?