WATCH Jeremy Corbyn suggests he would back illegal strikes on public sector pay
Jeremy Corbyn has hinted that he would support illegal strike action by public sector workers demanding a decent pay rise.
The Labour leader repeatedly refused to rule out supporting a walkout which failed to meet tough conditions contained in new government legislation.
Under the trade union laws brought in last year, at least 50% of those eligible to vote in a strike ballot must take part for any walkouts to be legal.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has said he would support any illegal strikes if that is what his members demand.
Appearing on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, Mr Corbyn was asked if he supported his left-wing ally.
He said: "I support the campaign for decent pay for the public sector. I will ensure that a Labour government will repeal the existing trade union law and bring us in line with the International Labour Organisations conditions."
Asked if he would join Mr McCluskey on the picket line, he said: "I will be with those workers demanding a decent pay rise."
Watch the full exchange here:
Appearing on ITV's Peston on Sunday, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell insisted the issue would not arise because any ballot would hit the 50% threshold.
He said: "I don't think there is any problem with getting the numbers. People are angry. I don't think anyone understands properly the strength of anger there is out there."
But Len McCluskey told the same programme he would not expect the Labour hierarchy to support illegal action.
He said: "I don't expect the leadership of the Labour party, or any Labour MP, to support a call to be outside of the law. I know that they are opposed to the current law and will do all they can inside parliament to change this law."
This was confirmed by Labour's Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who told Sky's Niall Paterson he had "received a letter from Len McCluskey this week where he says he accepts Labour MPs aren’t going to support calls for illegal strike action."
Mr Watson also took a stronger line on the issue than the Labour leader, saying: "We don’t support people breaking the law. We don’t want people to break the law, we are democrats.
"We are going to change the law so that trade unionists can have greater rights because we think our current framework of laws is very unfair."