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Socialist Case for Exit

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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 June 2016

photo Senan

photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

No to Tory and EU austerity

The EU doesn't protect workers' rights

Roger Bannister , Unison national executive member (personal capacity)

On 6 June ten trade union leaders had a letter published in the Guardian urging their members to vote Remain in the European Union referendum in order to defend rights at work.

At a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) meeting in Liverpool two days earlier one supporter remarked: "When I hear trade union leaders tell us that we have to stay in the EU to protect our rights I feel like saying, 'so what do we pay you for?'"

The EU is an economic and political bloc acting in the interests of big business in Europe. While it is true that, particularly during the Thatcher era, the EU sometimes seemed to represent a softer form of capitalism, and some legal protections for workers were made through it, this era of so-called 'social Europe' is well and truly over. The EU is at the forefront of globally applied austerity measures, and attacks on workers' rights.

The general secretaries naively call for the EU to change - to "move away from a path of austerity" as the Guardian summarised it. But as millions of impoverished Greek workers could tell them, it is a bit too late for that.

Even as the referendum debate is taking place EU representatives are locked in secret discussions with US representatives over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, (TTIP).

This aims to eliminate "barriers to trade" between these massive blocs. Such 'barriers' include health and safety legislation and preservation of what remains of the public sector. The King's Fund has recently stated that the NHS could not be exempted from EU procurement or competition rules, meaning it must be privatised.

The trade union leaders' support for the EU on the spurious grounds of defending workers' rights ironically comes soon after the TUC and most of the trade union leaders failed to lift a finger to stop the Tory government ripping up the right to strike of millions of British workers with the Trade Union Act. That weakness and indecision is the real threat to British workers, not Britain withdrawing from the bosses' trading club.

Note: This article was changed on 10.6.16 - to add a qualification and a quote attribution.

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In The Socialist 8 June 2016:


EU referendum

No to Tory and EU austerity

Youth must fight for their future

Northern Ireland: Biggest trade union supports EU exit

Letter to the Socialist: EU referendum

The socialist case against the EU: TUSC tour continues


Socialist history

China's 'Cultural Revolution' 1966-67


Socialist Party review

Music review: No to TTIP


Socialist Party news and analysis

Athens bus workers clean up

Exploitation Britain: Unionise and fight for a living wage

Muhammad Ali 1942-2016

Housing: Let's reclaim our right to dream again!

Nationalise the rip-off drug companies

Them & Us


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Link the strikes - come to the NSSN conference

Momentum Youth and Students: Witch hunts won't take movement forward

Tamil Solidarity Day

Student nurses march to oppose bursary cut

Pensioners fight ageist Tory cuts

Dangerous, dirty and damp: the unseen world of temporary accommodation


Socialist Party workplace news

RF Brookes walk out over pay cut

Pennine Foods strike: "Business NOT open as usual - Again!"

Junior doctors' dispute: New offer falls short

PCS campaign against Land Registry privatisation

Workplace news in brief


 

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