Corbyn won’t back ‘illegal’ striking workers!

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LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday refused to back or oppose the Tory plan for a two-year transition period after the March 2019 withdrawal from the EU, saying that under Labour the ‘transition’ would last ‘as long as necessary’.

An Open Letter from more than 40 senior party figures appeared in yesterday’s Observer newspaper demanding that the Labour Party this week commit to remaining indefinitely in the European single market and customs union after Brexit.

Corbyn said he wants to renationalise key industries, including the railways, to public ownership, but EU laws present significant obstacles to that. We have to look very carefully at the terms of any trade relationship, because at the moment we are part of the single market obviously that has within it restrictions on state aid and state spending, that has pressures on it through the European Union to privatise rail for example and other services. I think we have to be quite careful about the powers we need as a national government.’

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Corbyn said: ‘We made it very clear throughout the referendum campaign and through the General Election campaign that we wanted to protect consumer workers’ environmental conditions.

‘We want after Brexit to be part of a number of European agencies because it’s important to have that. There has to be some judicial process of settlement of any dispute and indeed Theresa May finally has come round to that position in her Florence speech.’

Marr asked: ‘So you would stay very, very close to the EU in all of those areas, as it were?’ Corbyn replied: ‘Listen, a referendum took place. There was a result given. I think we have to recognise the economic importance to Europe of us and us to Europe. It’s a big choice. I think we have to go down an economic road that continues that good relationship with Europe, because I’m very concerned about the idea that Theresa May and others have been flying around the world this summer, sort of offering all kinds of sweetheart trade deals which could be damaging to our working conditions in this country.’

Marr asked if he would support Unite leader Len McCluskey’s declaration that he would break the anti-union laws. Corbyn said: ‘The point Len is making is that when governments try to control what unions can do they get into a mess. The Heath government got into a mess, the Thatcher government got into a mess…

‘I’m supporting those people that are demanding a decent public sector pay rise. I’m supporting those people in making that demand and I’m saying a Labour government will repeal this Trade Union Act and bring in fairness and justice at the workplace.’

When asked: ‘If Len McCluskey is on the picket line on a strike the government has declared to be illegal are you with him or are you against him? A very straight forward question;’ Corbyn replied: ‘Listen, I’ll be with those workers demanding a decent pay rise.’

He was asked: ‘Even if they’ve gone on strike against the 50% thing?’ Corbyn replied: ‘Look, I will be with them demanding a decent pay rise. He had no direct answer when asked: ‘So you will be on those picket lines?’ He responded: ‘I’ll be with them demanding a decent pay rise.’