Monday, 6 June 2016

The Answer Is Democracy

The letter from union chiefs (Letters, 6 June) seems an act of desperation.

We are surprised at some of its claims.

Most of the workers’ rights mentioned either come entirely from UK law, like paternity leave, or are rights where the UK far exceeds the EU minimum already, like maternity leave.

It is also true that many important workers’ rights, like equal pay, existed before we even joined the EU. 

This begs the question: if the Tories were dying to withdraw these rights, why haven’t they at least scaled them down to the EU minimum in the six years of their current rule?

They haven’t been shy about attacking workers, but these major employment rights have been largely left alone.

The answer is democracy.

Unlike the unelected European commission, the Tories face the British public at the ballot box at every general election, and withdrawing key employment rights isn’t a vote winner.

As things stand, the Conservatives have a small majority of 12, and after the referendum – regardless of the result – it is hard to imagine them having a working majority at all.

An election this year or next looks possible, and the British public will have the choice of whom to put in government.

Instead of fearmongering about workers’ rights, the unions would be better telling the British public when they will have a similar chance to elect the commission.

The answer, of course, is never.

And if the EU is such a friend to workers, then why are the bulk of the Tory government, including Cameron and Osborne, as well as a horde of global banks, campaigning to stay in it?

Kate Hoey MP Vauxhall
Graham Stringer MP Blackley and Broughton
Kelvin Hopkins MP Luton North
Roger Godsiff MP Birmingham Hall Green
John Mills Chair, Labour Leave
Brendan Chilton General secretary, Labour Leave
Enrico Tortolano Trade Unionists Against the EU
John Sweeney Ucatt
Paul Embery London regional secretary, FBU
Steve Hedley Senior assistant general secretary, RMT


  1. The Tories have already drafted the legislation to keep us in the EU in all but name after a Leave vote.

    1. This is Corbyn's moment. Insist on honouring the referendum result against Cameron and most of his party, more MPs every day, all selected by allegedly Eurosceptical local associations.