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Metro mayors issue statement in support of striking workers and call for government to facilitate negotiated settlements

THE right to strike amid the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades is defended by Labour’s metro mayors in a joint statement published today.

Some of the party’s most prominent regional leaders, including Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and his Liverpool counterpart Steve Rotheram, urged bosses to negotiate a “fair wage” with unions as the “summer of discontent” escalates.

They said: “The cost-of-living crisis is forcing an increasing number of people into industrial disputes, [such as] rail workers, criminal barristers and airport check-in staff. 

“And there could be many more, including teachers, doctors, other NHS staff and postal and telecoms workers. This affects everyone.

“Paying a fair wage to the people who keep our country running isn’t too much ask — we urge employers to meet with unions and negotiate an end to these disputes.”

The intervention, also backed by North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll, his South Yorkshire counterpart Oliver Coppard and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Mayor Nik Johnson, condemned the widespread use of fire-and-rehire tactics against workers.

“No-one wants to see strikes happening,” the mayors said. “But at times, the only means working people have left to defend their livelihoods is industrial action. 

“We support the right to take action to protect jobs, safety, pensions, pay and conditions.” 

The call puts pressure on Sir Keir Starmer to express unambiguous support for those striking to defend their rights, after the Labour leader instructed members of his front-bench team not to attend RMT picket lines during last month’s national rail strikes.

Jeremy Corbyn’s successor backed down from a threat to punish those defying the order last week, claiming it was “satisfactory” that the five frontbenchers involved, including shadow minister Alex Sobel and party whip Navendu Mishra, remain in post. 

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