TRADE UNION GIANT RELEASES LEGAL OPINION ON EU REFERENDUM
MEP ALYN SMITH AND CHRISTINA MCKELVIE HIGHLIGHT EU ROLE IN WORKERS’ RIGHTS
Alyn Smith MEP and the SNP’s Christina McKelvie have highlighted an independent legal opinion commissioned by the Trade Union Council (TUC) that lists the workers’ rights most at risk in the event of Brexit.
Michael Ford QC’s legal opinion suggests that, based on past history and extant policy documents, the rights most vulnerable to repeal are limits on working hours, protections for agency and part-time workers, and the right to collective consultation, including the right for workers’ representatives to be consulted if major changes are planned that will result in redundancies.
Workers would no longer be able to seek redress from the European Court of Justice (ECJ), regardless of whether the UK Government retained EU-guaranteed worker protections.
Alyn, a co-signatory to the European Trade Union Confederation’s campaign to promote trade union rights as human rights, said:
“Scotland has a long history of brave, groundbreaking trade unionism and collective action, where people fought to gain rights that would protect us all in the workplace.
“As a lawyer to trade myself, I think this is a tremendously important piece of work from Michael Ford QC. Just because a UK government outside the EU could keep the same rights, doesn’t mean it would. Meanwhile, workers would have a sword of Damocles over their heads the entire time, with no redress from the ECJ.
“The EU has long been an ally for Scotland in our struggle to protect workers’ rights. I hope that we can continue to work with our partners across the continent long into the future.”
Christina McKelvie, Convenor of the SNP Parliamentary Trade Union Group, added:
“The Conservative Government’s relentless attacks on trade unions leaves us in no doubt that there are those rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of dissolving our hard-won rights.
“The SNP will continue to oppose the UK Government’s spiteful Trade Union Bill and to support workers’ rights every step of the way.”
I hold no brief for the Conservative government, but it has to manage a state that is slowly going down the hill with all sorts of consequences. The SNP, under pressure from the US-created and US financially backed Euromove organisation, has fallen foul of “the EU, right or wrong” ideology, which simply won’t wash in the light of the new and developing system of worldwide interdependence and global governance.
The sub-regional EU did not invent the standards of working conditions that it is by implication claiming. Like so much else in its “legislation” it is simply repeating established international norms that have been handed down to every individual state by institutions higher up the global scale, and are binding on every national government irrespective of the EU. The principal such institution is the United Nations International Labour Organisation, which has been setting the global standards for industrial working conditions since WW1, long before there ever was a European Union. Nowadays a whole list of other institutions at global level are also contributing to these norms.
Furthermore, UK legislation governing working conditions has been in force since 1802, the Factory Inspectorate was set up by the 1833 Factories Act, and this was followed by dozens of acts of parliament that pushed standards up still further, right to the present day. It is pure charlatanry to claim that only the EU stands between workers and oppressive working conditions, for even worse to claim that the EU invented the relevant modern standards. God help us if this is the sort of argument that is going to determine the future of Scotland.
Lastly, there is no such institution as a European Court of Justice. The EU internal arbitration tribunal, despite its euphonious title, covers only EU-internal regulations, but it has no jurisdiction whatever over non-members or over Europe as a whole.
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