European Union Not Defending Worker's Rights

On 23rd June the referendum on whether the United Kingdom will leave or stay in the European Union will be held. The European Union (EU) is an economic-political union made up of 28 member states located primarily in Europe. The build up to the referendum has seen a variety of claim and counterclaim about the benefits of leaving or staying in the EU.

The increasingly pessimistic economic projections of the remain in the EU campaign has drawn much criticism. Even many who support Britain's continued membership of the EU have warned against the negative impact that fear-based campaigning can have. Another off-putting element of the remain campaign has been the gathering of unelected European bureaucrats, big business interests, untrustworthy politicians, accountants, bankers, along with the IMF and World Bank who have supported Britain's continued membership. A real line up of the unsavoury that would put off many from voting to stay in the EU.

Suddenly these establishment figures who are known to want to drive down ordinary peoples living conditions pretend to be the protectors of workers rights. The truth is the EU has been directly behind assaults on wages, pensions, collective bargaining and other workers’ rights across the EU. Institutions such as the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Council are the very ones demanding wage “moderation” across the EU.

EU attacks on wages and collective bargaining was clear in those countries which relied on “bailouts” from the EU and/or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the financial crisis of 2008. In exchange for bailouts, these countries had to introduce so called “reforms” insisted upon by the Troika of EU, European Central Bank (ECB) and IMF as in the case of Greece, Ireland and Portugal. These resulted in attacks on wages, social services and public ownership and demands for labour market “reforms”. Including the abolition of systems of collective bargaining resulting in a decline in wages.

It is because the EU acts overwhelmingly in the interests of big business and against the interests of workers that some trade unions are calling for a Leave vote on June 23rd. Included are RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers), ASLEF (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen), BFAWU (Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union).


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