On the final day of the Labor Party conference, dockers holding down a picket line just a few miles from the Pullman Hotel, where the event is taking place, accused Sir Keir Starmer of failing to stand up for the working class by refusing to join their or participate in other strikes. In a video released by the BBC, Liverpool dock workers called for “solidarity” from the Labor leader, accusing him of “being too scared to come down” and personally offer his support. Halfway through their two-week strike, they are the latest sector to join industrial action, with rail workers, postal workers and lawyers all taking part in strikes this week and ambulance workers preparing to also vote on action.
A forward said: “Starmer has said he will scrap the new strike laws but it would be nice to see him on the picket line.
“It’s not the right thing to sit there and talk. [He should be] out and about, on the picket line, speaking to members, donating, bringing them tea and coffee, that’s what the general public has been doing.
“Why can’t the party we’re supposed to belong to do that?”
Another striker said: “All we want is a little bit of solidarity from our supposed leaders. And if they don’t come down or he tells his front benchers not to stand on a picket line, then he will lose the working class.”
Another striker, asked if Labor MPs had been seen picketing, said: “Couple of Labor MPs the other day but not the lead MP, no. The big boss, he’s too scared to come down.”
But Sir Keir defended his position over the weekend ahead of the Labor Party conference which started on Sunday, saying the “most important thing” he could do was focus on winning the next general election.
Sir Keir said: “The most important thing I can do for all the strikers, for all those who are struggling to pay their bills, is to start a Labor government.
“If we do that, we can have labor rights for every single person from day one.”
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As a result of the latest round of rail strikes, rail passengers are being told not to travel on Saturday unless necessary due to another strike.
The public transport sector has been repeatedly disrupted throughout the summer at the expense of the general public over a longstanding dispute over wages, jobs and working conditions.
And members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), Aslef, Unite and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) are set to stage a coordinated strike this weekend, causing significant disruption to services.
A reduced timetable has been released showing only 11 per cent of rail service will operate, with some areas having no trains.
It will be the first time unions have pulled out of the strike on the same day, affecting services more than previous strike days.
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