Print

09/02/2016 - EU renegotiation a threat to rights of workers

metroeudealTrade Unionists are becoming increasingly concerned that the Tories will use EU renogotiation as a means to attack the rights of workers. During the debate in the UK Pariliament about his rengogotiation Mr Cameron was aked by Labour MP Rachel Reeves to assure MPs that this doesn’t affect important employment rights.

Worryingly Mr Cameron replied that the renegotiation was “an opportunity now to make sure that single market legislation is proportionate.”

Mr Cameron also told MPs: “I said we wanted to make Europe more competitive and deal with the rule-making and bureaucracy that can cost jobs here in Britain and indeed across the EU.

“We asked for commitments in all the areas central to European competitiveness.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned that this could be “a fig leaf for increasing pressure to privatise our public services and reduction of consumer standards, environmental protection or workers’ rights.”

The Prime Minister gave no details as to which specific legislation he wants to overturn.

It isn't hard to make an informed guess, however. Bosses’ lobbying group the CBI issued an analysis of the deal.

In a section titled “implications for business,” the group spell out how businesses would “like to see the opt-out from the Working Time Directive made permanent.”

Britain already opts out of the directives cap on working hours, but it guarantees breaks and holiday.

Rights for agency and part-time workers, along with health and safety laws, are also likely to be targeted as part of the renegotiation.

Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented: "Workers face losing rights as a result of the Tories using renogotiation to do deals to water down 'social Europe' rules. If there is a vote to come out of the EU in the Referendum then the Tories will not have to abide by the rules anymore in any case. I am personally in favour of a vote to leave but I am concerned that many of the rights workers have now will be taken away. We will have to fight for these rights to be maintained or renewed. I am concerned that the campaigns to leave are mainly dominated by reactionary forces following a corporate agenda who don't have the true interests of the British people at heart."