Unite’s Len McCluskey, general secretary of the country’s biggest union, said: “This is a time for calm. Those who bring turmoil to our cities must understand that their actions are unsupportable. Rioting solves nothing – all it does is bring ruin to people’s lives and fear to working-class communities.
“Workers also need to know that they can go about their business in the community in safety, particularly in the transport sector where bus drivers have been placed in the most dreadful and dangerous of situations in recent days.
“Bus workers have shown their dedication today by turning out for work as normal but this union has made it clear to employers that we cannot tolerate circumstances that endanger either the workforce or their passengers. Workers cannot be asked to drive people into battlefields.
“Equally, we offer our admiration and support for the public servants up and down the country who are now repairing the damage done to our communities. Their fortitude illustrates once again why our public services are to be prized.
“Events of recent days have shown us that a substantial minority of young people simply do not feel connected to a society where the prevailing ideology prizes individual wealth above everything else, including community cohesion. Unemployment and the dismantling of the social infrastructure can only make this worse.
“Addressing these deep-rooted problems takes time, dedication and political will but what is clear is that super-charged tough talk about law and order will not on its own work. Our communities need now to be given the resources and the support they need to get back on their feet.”