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Labor must not side with Heathrow employees in wage disputes, says David Lammy | Labor

Written by Javed Iqbal

Labor should categorically refuse to support airlines’ demands for a pay rise of around 10% to show that it is serious about seeking bargaining results in disputes, David Lammy have said.

It said the shady foreign minister Labor should act as a governing party and that responsible governments believed in negotiations and compromise.

The party has been criticized for not supporting the RMT in the current dispute that triggered the railway strikes, but Labor frontbenchers have rarely rejected union wage demands as firmly as Lammy in his interview on the BBC’s Sunday Morning show.

Lammy was asked if he supported the BA check-in staff at Heathrow, who have voted on strike over management’s refusal to reverse the 10% pay cut imposed during the pandemic.

“Many of us might want a 10% increase,” Lammy said. “In truth, most people understand that you’re unlikely to get it.”

Asked directly if he supported the check-in staff, who are members of Unite, Lammy replied, “No, I do not. That’s a no. That is a categorical no. “

Asked why he would not support them, he replied: “Because I mean being in government seriously, and the thing about being in government is that you support negotiations.

Referring to the rail dispute, he said: “This government is not negotiating. This government does not support reaching a compromise.”

Unlike RMT, Unite is affiliated with the Labor Party and has previously been its biggest economic backer. However, Sharon Graham, who took office as secretary – general last year, has strongly criticized Keir Starmer’s stance on the railway strike and has indicated that funding for Labor will be cut.

Asked what would happen to Labor MPs who joined strike lines to show their support for the RMT rail strike, Lammy said Alan Campbell, the shadow chief whip, would speak to them “and make it very clear that a serious party of the government does not join strike lines ”.

Some frontbenchers and parliamentary aides were among those taking up the post, even though they had been explicitly ordered to stay away from Starmer’s office.

Lammy said Labor was the working people’s party, but that did not mean it should automatically side with workers against employers in a dispute. Although railway workers had legitimate complaints, he suggested, there were also “working people who use the trains to get to work”.

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On Tuesday, the Communications Workers’ Union will start voting for postal workers on strike over a wage increase offer of 2 per cent. Dave Ward, the CWU’s secretary general, told Sky News on Sunday that he was “disappointed” by Labour’s stance on unions taking action.

“I think Labor has rained wrong because I think they are obsessed with reconnecting with working people, and the reason people moved away from Labor was over Brexit,” he said.

“I do not think people are going to turn their backs on working people who are facing these challenges because we are all really in it together.”

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Javed Iqbal

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