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ANDY BURNHAM was lambasted today for demanding that police take action against construction workers on an unofficial strike over unpaid wages, who he labelled “arrogant.”
The Greater Manchester metro mayor made the comments during a speech today at property speculator jamboree Mipim in Cannes, France, while the workers’ contractor, Dawnus, filed for bankruptcy.
Mipim has been repeatedly criticised for turbo-charging “empty tower” gentrification across Britain.
Mr Burnham said local police should “look into whether an offence has been committed” by the workers, who walked off the Regent Road roadworks between Salford and Manchester on Tuesday and have not returned to work since.
Several diggers and a large lorry were placed onto the rush-hour route to draw attention to their cause.
The former Labour frontbencher said: “However difficult their issues are, [they should] pursue them through the court or with lawyers.
“Do not take direct action and punish innocent people who are trying to do their day’s work and earn their money.
“I thought it was a very arrogant act.”
However since Dawnus has gone into administration it is unclear how workers can follow Mr Burnham’s advice and pursue their owed wages.
Manchester Momentum organiser Beth Redmond told the Star: “It would be wise of Burnham to remember that he was elected to represent a city of Labour loyalists with a strong history of solidarity with workers.
“Strikes are supposed to be disruptive to maximise pressure on unruly management.
“The ease with which Burnham casts this aside, while he schmoozes with international property developers in Cannes, to blame the workers is a stain on our movement.
“The workers just want to be paid, but Burnham points the finger at them instead of collapsed dodgy contractors Dawnus.”
Salford mayor Paul Dennett, who is Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s chief housing strategist, has taken a different tone to Mr Burnham in his remarks.
Mr Dennett, who is on the left of Labour, said: “Making Regents Road safe again for pedestrians and residents is top of the priority list — as well as ensuring support for staff who have gone without pay.
“Solidarity to staff and residents alike who were affected by multiple failings.”
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