| A cardboard cut out of Sir Keir Starmer on a nurses picket line in London today Photo Momentum | MR Online A cardboard cut-out of Sir Keir Starmer on a nurses’ picket line in London. (Photo: Momentum)

Labour leader finally appears on a picket line…

Originally published: Morning Star on January 18, 2023 by Peter Lazenby (more by Morning Star)  | (Posted Jan 20, 2023)

LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer appeared on a nurses’ picket line in London today–in the form of a life-size cardboard cut-out delivered by strike supporters from the Momentum campaign group.

The stunt came with a demand that Sir Keir “get off the fence” and support nurses, teachers, firefighters, postal workers, rail workers and others who are striking for better pay after a decade of freezes and real-terms wage cuts.

And Momentum called on him to honour a Labour Party conference declaration supporting wage rises at least in line with inflation.

The Labour leader provoked anger when he banned members of his shadow cabinet from appearing on picket lines with strikers.

Since then, many Labour MPs have stood proudly alongside strikers voicing their support.

The Starmer cut-out appeared outside King’s College Hospital in south London, one of dozens of hospitals where members of the Royal College of Nursing are on strike for the first time in the union’s 106-year history.

Picket Martin Abrams, a trade unionist and member of Momentum’s national co-ordinating group, said:

The Labour leadership needs to get off the fence and back workers like nurses striking for fair pay and conditions.

Having suffered through austerity, key workers like nurses, who cared for us through the pandemic, should not be paying the price for a Tory cost-of-living crisis–they deserve proper, inflation-proof pay rises.

Any Labour Party worth its salt would say the same–that’s why conference demanded as much just three months ago. It’s long past time Keir Starmer listened to the Labour Party he leads.

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