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Union accuses Labour of ‘direct attack’ on airline staff by not backing 10% rise

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David Lammy sparked a fresh row with a key trade union on Sunday by saying Labour should categorically refuse to back demands from airline workers for a pay rise of about 10%.Unite accused the shadow foreign secretary of launching a “direct attack” on the workers it represents, with general secretary Sharon Graham saying his comments were a “new low” for Labour, which could not be relied upon by working people.Graham has previously indicated she wanted to scale back Unite’s contributions to Labour.

The union was once one of the party’s biggest donors, but Graham has repeatedly indicated she would like to divert its budget elsewhere.Labour has been criticised for not backing the RMT in the current dispute that triggered the rail strikes, but Lammy firmly dismissed airline workers’ pay demands in his interview on the BBC’s Sunday Morning show.Lammy was asked if he supported the BA check-in staff at Heathrow who have voted go to on strike over management’s refusal to reverse the 10% pay cut imposed during the pandemicand who are represented by Unite.“Many of us might want a rise of 10%,” Lammy said. “In truth, most people understand it’s unlikely that you’re going to get that.”Asked directly if he supported the check-in staff, who are members of Unite, Lammy replied: “No, I don’t.

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