Brexit would put workers’ rights at risk, TUC warns

Frances_O'Grady_at_TUC_Congress_2013

General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady

Workers’ rights would by threatened if Britain voted to leave the EU, the TUC has warned.

The umbrella group for UK trade unions has outlined how the EU “improved and extended rights and now underpins them” in a report published today. It also says the EU is an important safeguard against potential “unilateral” Government action that could change undermine workers’ rights.

The EU provides an alternative to an increasing attacks on workers’ right, the TUC said.

“The European Union has played an important role in protecting working people from exploitation and combating discrimination.

“These EU rights have provided an important counter-balance against pressure for the UK to adopt a US-style hire-and-fire culture where there is an absence of statutory employment rights.”

The TUC has also suggested workers’ could expect their employment rights to be bolstered if Britain voted to stay in the EU.

“There are also areas where European policy makers are currently considering future positive developments which could bring employment protection gains for UK workers.

“Measures could include extending the right to a written statement of terms and conditions to all workers (including those on zero-hours contracts), improved work-life balance rights and improved rights for posted workers. UK unions continue to work through European structures with European partners to advance and extend this agenda.”

The report comes just a day after Alan Johnson, leader of Labour In for Britain, highlighted the benefits of EU membership.

“Two thirds of British jobs in manufacturing are dependent on demand from Europe.

“Around 50,000 apprentices depend on trade linked to our EU membership.

“We can’t let them down by turning our back on the world and cutting British manufacturing and industry off from their largest export market.

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