Rail strike: Shadow transport minister for Labour supports workers

LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – In defiance of party leader Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow transport minister joined picketing rail employees.

Sam Tarry told the BBC that he was supporting the travelling public and the transport employees who were on strike.

Any Labour MP or member, he continued, would have complete solidarity with striking workers.

Sir Keir stated on Monday that his frontbencher MPs shouldn’t go to picket lines.

Similar directives were sent by the Labour leader’s office during the most recent round of strikes in June, but the few frontbenchers who ignored them were not fired.

Questions will now be raised about Sir Keir’s decision to remove Mr. Tarry, a supporter of previous Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, from his junior shadow ministerial position.

As a result of unsuccessful negotiations between Network Rail and the RMT regarding salary, pensions, and conditions, strikes have been called.

Only 20% of railway trips are anticipated on Wednesday given some 40,000 RMT union members are walking out, with consequences likely to extend into Thursday.

Speaking to reporters outside London’s Euston station, Mr. Tarry stated that he was there to support the striking transport workers as a shadow transport minister.

The Ilford South MP continued, saying that this disagreement wouldn’t be happening under a Labour administration because fair function would have been in practice.

A government doesn’t go on picket lines, a government attempts to resolve issues, Sir Keir said on Tuesday’s Today programme on BBC 4. He stated that he would be advising his shadow frontbench from refraining from participating in the strikes by staying off the picket lines.

Sources close to Mr. Tarry countered that he was not going against the orders of his leader because there had been no particular direction on the Wednesday strikes.

Kate Osborne, Navendu Mishra, Paula Barker and Ruth Jones, four junior frontbenchers, have also tweeted their support for the rail workers.

Labour has not publicly backed the strikes; instead, they have attacked the government, charging ministers with failing to try to find a solution.

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps, according to the party’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh, spent “more time on his doomed 48-hour leadership bid” than on resolving the strikes.

While claiming that the strikes are absolutely wrong, Mr. Shapps stressed that “only the employer” can resolve the conflict.