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Strikes are integral to defying cost-of-living crisis, hears Glasto's Left Field stage

STRIKING workers, housing justice and affordable public transport are integral to defying the cost-of-living crisis, a panel debate at Glastonbury festival heard today.

Speaking on the issue at the festival’s Left Field stage, Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan sent solidarities to striking RMT members and all other unions standing up for their rights.

He said: “Work should pay, so you can afford housing, heating and eating. 

“All of these things should be a right for every person. Before the pandemic we had 12 years of austerity. Everything happening now is a political choice.

“If we can waste billions of pounds on track and trace and unusable PPE then we can do the right thing for our communities.

“You can see what affordable public transport can do. [Greater Manchester Mayor] Andy Burnham has cut bus fares in Manchester and [Liverpool Mayor] Steve Rotherham is building railways in previously disconnected areas of Liverpool.”

Kwajo Tweneboa, a 23-year-old social housing activist, told the crowd at Glastonbury’s activist tent that the cost-of-living crisis was seeing more people in social housing dying in their homes.

He said: “Tenants living in poor housing are the voiceless. They need people to care. [Labour leader] Keir Starmer needs to be doing a lot more on housing if he wants people’s votes.

“I’m going across the country doing the job of MPs because I care. MPs are getting paid 80-plus grand, they should be doing more.”

Labour MP Zarah Sultana criticised the party leadership for turning its back on the working class.

“I’m really disappointed with the Labour Party across the country,” she said.

“We’re the Labour Party, support the worker, it’s simple.

“Bad bosses and landlords have got 350 MPs representing their interests and we need Labour to represent the rest.”

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