Sam Tarry has warned that Keir Starmer is in danger of “driving a wedge” between the party and working people as he joined a campaign to force a vote at conference committing Labour to supporting striking workers.
Momentum launched its new ‘Labour for labour’ campaign today, ahead of further industrial action expected to be taken by members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) this week.
Tarry, who was sacked from his role as a shadow transport minister in July after joining an RMT picket line, will speak at the campaign’s launch event on Thursday evening. The former shadow minister will be joined by fellow Labour MPs Dawn Butler and Jon Trickett and UNISON president Andrea Egan.
Ahead of the event, Tarry said: “As workers strike to protect themselves and their families from soaring prices, while CEOs rake in huge bonuses, Labour has a huge chance to show it’s on the side of working people.
“But by firing shadow ministers like myself for standing on picket lines, Keir Starmer is in danger of driving a wedge between Labour and the millions of working people desperate for real relief in this escalating cost-of-living crisis. There are seven million trades unionists in Britain – we need their votes to win power.
“I am proud of our party’s historic links to the trade unions – it’s time all of our party were. Together, we must build our movement, gather our resources and fight, fight and fight again to win the next election clearly on the side of Britain’s workers.”
Momentum denounced Starmer’s decision to instruct frontbenchers not to join picket lines, accusing the Labour leader of restraining MPs from offering “their solidarity and support”. Its campaign is urging Labour to ‘stand with labour’, demanding that every Labour MP joins striking workers on a picket line.
The campaign is also calling on the leadership of the party to back an “inflation-proof pay rise”, advocate for public ownership in order to “put the working-class before corporate profits” and support the abolition of anti-trade union laws.
Momentum co-chair Hilary Schan said: “Enough is enough. Britain is on the brink – with the Tories missing in action, now is the time for Labour to champion real relief for the millions of people suffering in this cost-of-living crisis.
“Keir Starmer needs to get off the fence and stand on the picket lines with working people fighting for their livelihoods, whether it’s rail workers or posties. What’s more, he should come out for the inflation-proof pay rise the people of this country deserve.
“Despite the lack of leadership from the top, the labour movement stands united. Over the coming weeks, Momentum activists will use every lever at our disposal to ensure our party fulfils its historic mission: for Labour to stand with labour.”
Momentum has called on supportive party members to pass a motion in their Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) demanding solidarity with striking workers and calling for an inflation-proof pay rise.
The left-wing organisation expects the motion to be heard at Labour conference in September and said that it may lead to a “showdown” between the left and the trade unions on one side and the Labour leadership on the other, with the motion likely to pass because of the support of the trade unions.