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The leader of one of the UK’s biggest trade unions has been left “aghast” by Keir Starmer ’s approach to striking workers and urged him to “pick a side”.

Unite boss Sharon Graham told how Labour is becoming “irrelevant” to the people it represents and sounds more like the Tories at times.

She spoke out in response to the firing of shadow transport minister Sam Tarry, who joined picket lines last week.

Mr Starmer insisted he was left with no choice but to sack the Ilford South MP after he booked TV appearances and allegedly made up party policy “on the hoof”.

But the Unite general secretary said: “If I was speaking to Keir now, I would say to him, ‘Which side are you on?’

Sharon Graham said Labour is becoming ‘irrelevant’ ( Tim Merry)

“Because the reality is, if I closed my eyes, sometimes I wouldn’t know whether it was the Labour Party or the Tories who were speaking.

“This is one of the biggest crises that workers are facing. We are trying to defend them with every fibre of our being and the party that is supposed to be echoing that in Parliament is doing the exact opposite.

“I’m very disappointed – aghast, quite frankly. I think it’s something Labour is going to have to think seriously about.”

Ms Graham claimed Mr Tarry had merely demanded “workers should get pay rises in line with inflation”.

Keir Starmer has been criticised by Union workers ( Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

She said: “Is Labour’s policy now to have a national pay cut? Because if you don’t get wages in line with inflation, that’s what’s happening.

“If you are on the side of workers, you need to show that you absolutely believe in defending workers.

“If you don’t do that, you are no longer the party for workers.”

Ms Graham also said she believes Conservative leadership candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have “underestimated the mood of the country” by vowing to curb unions.

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