Unions representing 4 million workers are backing EU membership

Alan Johnson hails ten unions' support for workers' rights in Europe


Trade unions representing nearly four million workers have come out in support of Britain staying a member of the European Union.

Alan Johnson, chair of Labour In For Europe, Labour’s ‘remain’ campaign, will hail union support for EU membership at today’s Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) annual delegate meeting.

Yesterday the Communication Workers Union (CWU) became the tenth trade union to back a vote for continued EU membership in the June 23 referendum.

Their nearly 200,000 members brings the total number of workers represented by unions backing remain to 3,977,118. This includes the country’s biggest unions Unite, Unison and the GMB.

TU table

(Source: Labour In For Europe)

Alan Johnson is expected to say:

‘Nearly four million British trade union members are represented by unions campaigning to keep Britain in Europe this June.

From nurses and builders, to railway workers, steel workers, postal workers and shop workers, trade unions will be campaigning for a Britain that Remains in Europe.

The rights of working people are protected by our EU membership and Labour and our union movement are united in campaigning for Britain to Remain in Europe.’

On leading Brexit campaigners Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, he will say:

‘their vision is a small state with few, if any, workplace rights, and the Thatcherite ‘supply side’ economy that Nigel Lawson was eulogising the other day.

They know the EU protects workers’ interests, and it’s one of the principal reasons why they want to leave the EU.’

Other pro-remain unions include Bectu, Community, CWU, GMB, Musicians Union, UCATT, Unison, Unite, USDAW and TSSA.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward, speaking to the CWU conference on Monday, said:

‘For all its problems, the reality is that most of the protections workers have in this country have come from Europe.

If Brexit succeeds, Cameron and the Tories will attack workers’ rights again in the same way they are attacking the trade union movement now.’

Will Straw, executive director of Britain Stronger In Europe,* the official remain campaign, said:

‘CWU members and all working people are stronger in Europe, as trade with the EU creates jobs and keeps prices lower, while EU law guarantees crucial rights at work like maternity and paternity leave, paid holidays, and equal treatment for agency workers.
Leaving Europe would be a leap in the dark that would put jobs and workers’ rights at risk.’
* Will Straw is also founder of Left Foot Forward

8 Responses to “Unions representing 4 million workers are backing EU membership”

  1. Jon Skewes

    Please add to the list of those unions supporting Remain the Royal College of Midwives with over 46k members. RCM is TUC affiliated and is a UK trade union and professional body. We made this stance public last week.

  2. CR

    Labour, Corbyn and the Unions all supporting the EU bosses club !!!

    The ghost of Tony Benn will be watching this in utter disbelief.

  3. wg

    How do you know?

    Have the members been balloted?

  4. Roberto

    My union UNISON (1,3m) has contacted all Branches throughout the UK; it was clear from the response received that overwhelmingly members of UNISON were interested in getting information on the EU distributed to them with the Union’s reasoned recommendation to remain so they could vote intelligently to stay if that is their choice in the Referendum.

    I do not accept any such slur from “the flat earthers” whose interests are in backing the highly motivated anti union anti workers rights and who hope that ideologically they can demolish these rights (without their supporters being made aware of the real costs that would be borne by them) and make money out of any future “free for all” granted in a narrow national context. That’s the reason our people want to be given the facts!


    […] on September 8 1988 resonates even more powerfully. It is one that unions representing more than 4m workers (so far) enthusiastically endorse in the run-up to the June 23 […]

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