I must take umbrage with various politicians on the Remain side arguing that leaving the EU threatens workers rights.
We currently see trade union strikes in France & Belgium over EU deregulation where train drivers are due to lose rest periods and undermine working conditions.
Last night on BBC The View we saw Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson cite a loss of workers rights if we left the EU as a reason to vote Remain, yet her colleague Mary Lou McDonald has said that the Lisbon Treaty lowers wages and provides the “Commission and Court with a….mandate to undermine workers pay and conditions”. Similarly Sinn Fein MEP Liadh Ni Riada has said that the European Fund for Strategic Investments is a white elephant benefiting private investment at the cost of public services and that “the economic and fiscal policies of the EU have had catasrophic effects…social rights are being dismantled..and the people of the member states are being subordinated to poverty”
— David Higgins (@higginsdavidw) March 28, 2016
But I digress and would point out that the UK has been at the forefront of conferring workers rights long before we joined the EU – Holiday Pay Act 1938, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Equal Pay Act 1970, Race Relations Act 1965.
With only nine statutory days off each year, two additional public holidays are required to bring us in line with the EU average of 11.
— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) October 9, 2015
EU law stipulates 4 weeks holidays whilst UK law stipulates 5.6 weeks. The UK provides for 56 weeks maternity leave with pay whilst the EU only requires 14 weeks with no minimum pay. There is no EU minimum wage – the UK has one of the highest in the world.
Hilariously, contrary to Sinn Fein`s recent arguments they have a 2015 press release on their website where Lynn Boylan MEP states
The draft maternity legislation was adopted by the parliament in 2010 with the aim of strengthening women’s rights by ensuring that 20 weeks of fully paid maternity leave becomes standard practice across the European Union.
The move to withdraw this directive is nothing short of scandalous and adds to the backlash against women’s rights, especially here in Ireland where women have been repeatedly victimised by Labour cuts to child benefit, back to school clothing allowances and now lone parent payments…..
The proposed directive would have also included provisions on paternity leave, so a blow was also struck to parental leave rights.
The Commission has yet again has chosen to capitulate to the business lobby over strengthening equality.”
International Labour law is governed by ILO an agency of the UN which does not require political and economic union to be a member.
As Boris Johnson replied to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon on this topic “We do not need the European Union to guarantee our humanity”