Free Movement In EU Was To Be Balanced By Social Chapter Which Has Been Chipped Away As Original Vision Of EU Was Hijacked Says GMB
Whatever the European vision was on integration, harmony, economic advancement and political stability what we currently have isn’t it so original vision needs to be restored says GMB
GMB commented on the reports of exchanges between Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, And David Cameron, the UK prime minister, on change the rules on freedom of movement.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “Politicians in all countries have to face up to more fundamental problems about Europe. Whatever the European vision was on integration, harmony, economic advancement and political stability, what we currently have isn’t it.
The free movement of labour and the single market were to be balanced by the social charter where all the people of Europe would live in freedom and with those in the poorer economies, benefitting from the harmonisation of standards across all member states. There were to be standards on workers protection, TUPE, on excessive hours, health & safety, information and consultation and so many other areas that were meant to keep labour exploitation in check.
That dream has been chipped away at for years as the original vision for the EU has been hijacked. Right wing governments and employer have engineered massive change in the direction of the EU vision. Judgements in the European Courts like Viking and Laval were the green light to massive assaults on organised labour across Europe, but especially in the UK.
From Lindsey Oil refinery to food production we have seen workers recruited in certain member states by agencies and exploited. They were shipped in “literally” in order to undermine the terms and conditions of existing workers on those contracts. Both sets of workers have been let down by UK Government, the EU Commission and the European Court.
On exploitation – don’t blame the exploited; damn those who exploit. This has been repeated up and down the country over recent years. And that is part of the discontent that extreme political parties turn into xenophobic rhetoric to win votes.
Look past the simplistic tag and face the challenge of exploitation. Let’s reach out to those migrant workers not attack them, but organise and protect them.
Too many workers go to work fearful about exercising their basic rights. A new Labour Government working with the EU and Governments in member states has to create workplaces without fear and equip trade unions to enforce it. The challenge for an incoming Labour in government is to deal with exploitation and harassment of workers which it has ignored for too long. Collective rights are the key to unlock that challenge. Take away our shackles and we will show you what enforcement is all about.”
Contact Kathleen Walker Shaw 07841 181 549 or Kamaljeet Jandu 07956 237178 or Lisa Johnson 07900 392228 or GMB press office 07921 289880