Sadiq Khan’s unions links have come under renewed attack by London Tories after it emerged that he’s promised to use taxpayer money and resources “to promote” union membership.
The Labour mayoral hopeful made the pledge during last summer’s contest to pick a Labour mayoral candidate.
In a pitch designed to secure the backing of the Unison union, Mr Khan said he would “work with trade unions to promote workers’ rights and union membership by establishing a dedicated team in my office.”
The pledge was part of a wider commitment to campaign for workplace rights, including promoting the London Living Wage, and to oppose “Tory government cuts” in local government and the NHS.
However London MP Bob Neill says plans to use the Mayor’s office to promote union membership “raises serious questions about the undue influence unions would have” over a Khan administration.
Earlier this week Mr Khan declined to condemn a series of strikes planned by Tube unions in their ongoing row over the introduction of the Night Tube service.
Neill, a former minister and London Assembly member, said delivering on Khan’s vow would “would bring the unions into the heart of decision making at City Hall meaning no night tube and agreement to union demands for more money.
“Just like the hard-left has infiltrated Labour, Khan will bring the unions into City Hall – and Londoners will pay the price.”
His comments come just days after outgoing mayor Boris Johnson branded Khan “a tool” of the Tube unions, some of which have backed his mayoral bid.
Asked to comment on his pledge, a spokesperson for Mr Khan’s campaign said: “The evidence shows there have been more than twice as many strikes under the Tory Mayor than during the previous eight years.
“The Tories are more interested in using strikes as a political football than helping Londoners avoid disruption by stopping strikes – and it will be exactly the same under Zac Goldsmith.”