JOHN McDONNELL marches with the RMT on the TUC demonstration to Parliament on June 18th – he is now supporting co-ordinated strike action by a number of unions to win wage rises that match inflation

SUPPORTING calls for a general strike, leading Labour MP John McDonnell said he supports ‘co-ordinated action’.

He also condemned Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer for sacking the shadow transport minister Sam Tarry after he stood on the picket line during Wednesday’s rail strike.
McDonnell, who was shadow chancellor under Jeremy Corbyn, said the Labour Party should be supporting the strikes as rail workers call for a pay rise in line with inflation.
He said that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has ‘misread the public mood’ by failing to have specific targets on what workers should be paid and he questioned who is advising him.
The Labour MP also said the party should be supporting the strikes and there should be a general strike if no progress is made.
McDonnell said: ‘I support coordinated action because if that results in a decent pay rise for people that protects against the cost of living crisis, I think that’s the most effective thing to do.’
McDonnell later tweeted: ‘What I actually said this morning: “If you look at the ballots that are taking place across the trade union movement, we are talking about millions of workers now voting for industrial action. So, naturally, what people are saying as well, why not coordinate that?”’
Diane Abbott, who was shadow home secretary under Jeremy Corbyn, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the public wanted to see Labour ‘stand with the RMT and ordinary people’.
She and McDonnell also accused Starmer of double standards.
They noted Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves had not been fired for giving an interview earlier this week in which she said Labour no longer backed renationalising the railways. Labour later said renationalisation remained its policy.
McDonnell, himself a former shadow chancellor, said: ‘Rachel Reeves went on an interview and made up policy on rail nationalisation which had to be contradicted by the shadow spokesperson on transport within hours. I didn’t see Rachel Reeves being sacked.
‘Just at a time when the Tories are tearing themselves apart, and we’ve got the maximum opportunity, I think, to gain an advantage in the polls that will build the support to take us into a government, we’re having this completely unnecessary row.’

  • A Scottish union leader has resigned from the Labour Party over the sacking of the shadow transport minister who joined striking rail workers on a picket line.

Kevin Lindsay, Scotland organiser for the ASLEF union, said the sacking was ‘a step too far’ and that Starmer was failing to stand up for workers.
He is calling for the rail group to cut its ties with Labour altogether, saying the party was ‘more interested in trying to woo Tory voters in the shires of England than representing working people’.
Labour said Sam Tarry had been dropped from Starmer’s front bench for making unauthorised media appearances.
But the Labour Party leader has also told his shadow team they must not not join pickets lines.