TUC warns that weakening employment rights will endanger EU ‘yes’ vote

Voters are concerned about the impact of cutting red tape on businesses


The TUC has warned today that the government’s plans to weaken employment rights will endanger the EU ‘yes’ vote.

A poll of 4,000 UK voters – commissioned from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research by the TUC – showed that 55 per cent of the public would be more supportive of Britain’s membership of the EU if it did more to help people get decent pay and working conditions.

By contrast, fewer than one in four (23 per cent) said they would be more supportive of the UK’s EU membership if it did more to cut red tape on businesses.

‘Red tape’ is frequently cited by eurosceptics as one of the problems with EU membership. The High Level Group on Administrative Burdens (HLG) describes how ‘more and more detailed rules which affect the daily life of citizens have tarnished the image of the EU in the public opinion and resulted in the EU being regarded as a “bureaucratic monster”.’

But the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) has warned that cutting red tape could result in serious human rights breaches. In a 2014 report it found that 43 out of 84 companies listed on the UK’s FTSE 100 were named in reports on allegations of human rights issues in the last ten years.

Jerome Chaplier, ECCJ coordinator said:

“Some of Europe’s biggest companies are alleged to have been involved in serious human rights abuses. Governments have failed to oversee or regulate their private sector. With this backdrop, the emphasis from the European Commission on cutting ‘red tape’ is a cause for concern.”

The findings of the TUC poll suggest that British workers are also concerned about the impact of this kind of reformation. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“This poll should be a warning shot to business leaders and politicians. If they opportunistically use re-negotiation to call for weaker employment rights they will make getting a ‘yes’ vote much harder.

“Support for staying in Europe will haemorrhage if ordinary Britons feel their working lives are going to be made worse.

“Chipping away at paid holidays, rest breaks, maternity rights and fair treatment for part-time and agency workers is the last thing people want.

“Europe is at its best when it meets the interests of both business and workers. Abandoning this blueprint would be a disaster for the UK and the EU.”

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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8 Responses to “TUC warns that weakening employment rights will endanger EU ‘yes’ vote”

  1. GhostofJimMorisson

    British workers would feel better if they didn’t have to contend with an army of low-skilled Eastern Europeans competing with them for jobs. Something journalists and bloggers don’t have to worry about.

  2. Dave Stewart

    Actually bloggers and journalists worry about competition from people in less developed countries greatly. Those people do not even need to move here to compete with them so the competition is significantly more fierce.

  3. steroflex

    Ruby, Allow me to give you some more research projects:
    Pope says that leaving the EU will endanger Christianity.
    Mr Cameron says that leaving the EU will endanger the government.
    Ruby Stockham says that leaving the EU will endanger the socialist movement.
    By the way, please do not put the words Pope, Cameron or your own name onto the article or it might look a teensy bit biased.

  4. steroflex

    I live at the point of this criticism. There are a lot of immigrants here.
    The scandal is that the local factories run what amounts to a closed shop with the agencies. Anyone who joins a union is immediately kicked out of the agency and ends up unemployable. Also cheapo immigrants from Romania, Bulgaria and so on undercut the wages of Baltic people who are simply informed when they turn up that they are on the dole. Minimum wage? Of course, officer, may I ask you to inspect the books? Agency staffer to Liviu: OK Thirty pounds for a twelve hour day – after expenses which include a five man bedroom with box and cox sleepers.

  5. GhostofJimMorisson

    I’ll believe that when Bloodworth and co are replaced by Poles, Bulgarians and Romanians.

  6. GhostofJimMorisson

    It’s a disgrace, forced upon us by unaccountable neo-liberal Eurocrats, and the Left should recognise this if it still cares a damn about the working classes.

  7. GhostofJimMorisson

    The EU is, as Benn and the Unions recognised in the ’70s, a capitalist club. That’s why big business is always the first to shout about the dangers of Brexit. It boils my piss when I see Leftwing commentators adopting a neoliberal position on both immigration and the EU. They bombard us with economic figures, like that’s all that matters in the world.

  8. Cole

    Well the unions – or most of them – are pretty pro EU. The EU will actually help protect us over the next 5 years – which is why many right wingers hate it.

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