Labour Party mayors across the country have said they are supporting workers taking strike action over pay as a result of the cost of living crisis.

Jamie Driscoll, who represents the North of Tyne area, has issued a joint statement with Liverpool’s Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Nik Johnson, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and Oliver Coppard, Mayor of South Yorkshire.

They joined Greater Manchester’s Andy Burnham, who has also sought to downplay his Labour leadership ambitions amid increasing pressure on Sir Keir Starmer.

About 40,000 RMT members at Network Rail and 13 train operators went on strike last month in a dispute over jobs, pay and conditions, and further action could follow.

Holidaymakers also face chaos at airports this summer as BA staff demand the 10 per cent of pay they had “stolen” from them last year as they faced “fire and rehire” tactics.

The Northern Echo: Sir Keir Starmer Sir Keir Starmer

Current Labour leader Keir Starmer is facing calls from unions to stand up for workers’ rights and support recent industrial action.

Durham Constabulary is continuing to investigate whether lockdown rules were violated after Sir Keir was caught on camera drinking a beer in an MP’s office after a day of campaigning for the local elections in Durham in April 2021.

He has said he will stand down if he is issued with a fixed-penalty notice.

Mr Burnham insisted he does not expect there to be a vacancy to replace Sir Keir and said he intends to serve a “full second term” as Greater Manchester’s mayor.

The Northern Echo: Andy BurnhamAndy Burnham

The joint statement by the metro mayors said: “Many employers are exemplary, and look after their workforce.

“Sadly, this doesn’t always happen. We’ve seen a worrying increase in fire and rehire. 

“No one wants to see strikes happening. 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 Northern Echo: North of Tyne Mayor Jamie DriscollNorth of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll

The mayors warned the current economic climate means that workers in many other industries and professions are now considering industrial action.

They said: “The cost of living crisis is forcing an increasing number of people into industrial disputes. 

“Rail workers, criminal barristers, airport check-in staff.  And there could be many more, including teachers, doctors, other NHS staff, 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 trade unions and negotiate an end to these disputes.”

Read more: Huge emergency service response to fire in County Durham care home


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