THE removal of Labour MP Sam Tarry from the party’s front bench following his support for the rail workers’ strike has been met with widespread anger from the trade union movement.

The Ilford South MP and shadow transport minister attended an RMT protest at London’s Euston station on Wednesday, later commenting that he was standing “in solidarity with striking workers”.

While Labour has thus far maintained that Tarry was sacked for unauthorised media appearances, several union leaders have interpreted his removal as reprisal for defying Labour leader Keir Starmer’s instruction that members of the Labour front bench should not participate in such demonstrations.

READ MORE: Aslef's Kevin Lindsay quits Labour as Sam Tarry sacking a 'step too far'

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham commented: “The Labour sacking of Sam Tarry for supporting working people on strike, against cuts to their jobs and pay, is another insult to the trade union movement. Quite frankly, it would be laughable if it were not so serious.

“At a time when people are facing a cost-of-living crisis, and on the day when the Conservative Government has launched a new wave of attacks on the rights of working people, the Labour party has opted to continue to indulge in old factional wars.

“Labour is becoming more and more irrelevant to ordinary working people who are suffering. Juvenile attacks on trade unionists will do absolutely nothing to further Labour’s prospects for power.”

The National:

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of TSSA – with which Tarry (above) is a former member – dismissed Labour’s explanation for the MP’s removal, saying: “Sam did the right thing and stood shoulder to shoulder with rail workers striking for fairness and safety at work.

“Whatever excuses Labour makes about the reasons for Sam being sacked, the reality is that he has shown solidarity with his class and we applaud him for that.

“The Labour Party needs to wake up and smell the coffee. If they think can win the next general election while pushing away seven million trade union members, they are deluded.

“As a Labour-affiliated union, our union is ashamed of the actions of the Labour Party leadership and the anti-worker anti-union message it is sending out.”

Kevin Lindsay, Scotland organiser for the train drivers’ union ASLEF, has resigned from Labour in response to Tarry’s sacking, calling for the union to disaffiliate from Labour and for Starmer to resign as Labour leader.

Lindsay commented: “There needs to be a change in leadership and political direction but I sadly can’t see this happening and we will end up with PM Truss for several years.

“Therefore I have made the decision not only to resign from the Labour Party but now also support the proposal for ASLEF to disaffiliate from the party.”

The National:

Speaking to The National, STUC general secretary Roz Foyer (above) did not directly address the Tarry’s removal, but expressed approval of those Scottish Labour figures who had joined with striking RMT workers this week, adding that the STUC encouraged “all members” to show similar solidarity.

Foyer commented: “It was hugely welcome to see politicians, including Scottish Labour representatives, on the picket lines yesterday supporting the RMT workers in their struggle. We would strongly expect this to continue and encourage all members, from across the political spectrum, to support their constituents in their hour of need.

“In Scotland and across the UK we’re witnessing a tidal wave of people power – workplace by workplace and sector by sector - mobilising where the politicians have faltered. Our movement makes no apologies for supporting direct action against employers who simply won’t stand by their workforce during this cost-of-living emergency.”