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- Senior Labour MP says the party should show “solidarity” with workers on illegal strikes. Labour chair Ian Lavery says he would be “proud” to break the law on strikes. UK legislation brought in earlier this year was designed to limit strikes. Unite General Secretary says he is so happy with Labour’s stance he “looks like care in the community”.
BRIGHTON – Labour should show “solidarity” with workers taking part in illegal strikes and be “proud” to join them on the picket line, the party’s chair said today.
Ian Lavery told a fringe meeting at Labour conference that he would personally be “proud to break” the government’s trade union legislation.
“If it means standing shoulder to shoulder to get justice then that’s what we should be doing,” Lavery said.
“I would stand shoulder to shoulder with people on a picket line. If they were on a strike and breaking the anti-trade union legislation then I would be proud to break it,” he added.
Lavery was referring to new legislation that came into force earlier this year designed to limit public sector strikes.
Lavery said that while it was not yet Labour policy to support illegal strikes the party was “working towards” changing it.
“We need to look at the anti-trade union legislation that has been implemented from Thatcher to Blair to the current day,” he said, adding that he would support allowing individual workers to launch strikes.
“I personally believe that every individual has a right to withdraw their labour,” he said.
“If that’s all they’ve got left, why shouldn’t they be able to?”
Lavery’s comments come as the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell confirmed that Labour will restore “collective bargaining” as well as repeal anti-strike legislation.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey told a fringe meeting that he was “walking around with a big smile on my face” since McDonnell’s speech, adding that “I look a bit like ‘care in the community’.”