Weakening workers’ rights in the EU is playing with fire, warns TUC:

Weakening workers’ rights will not win votes to stay in the EU, says the TUC today (Wednesday).

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady will spell out a strong message on the EU referendum as she delivers the inaugural Ken Coates Memorial Lecture at the University of Nottingham. In her speech, Frances O’Grady says:

“Since before the crash, the EU, along with the IMF and European Bank, has pursued an agenda of austerity, liberalisation and deregulation – including taking a sledge hammer to collective bargaining in the programme countries. So the political class should not be surprised if workers around Europe start to wonder – what’s in it for them?

“Never ones to miss an opportunity, some business leaders are lobbying to get workers’ rights – particularly those for agency workers and on working time, together with a moratorium on any new rights – thrown into the reform package.

“We can all agree that Europe must create more jobs. European trade unions want a much more ambitious investment programme for skilled, sustainable, well-paid jobs than is currently on offer. But you don’t get that through deregulation or slamming the brakes on rights at work.

“Europe must become a good jobs factory. Without workers’ rights it would become a sweatshop.

“The government is playing with fire. They will not win blue collar votes to stay in the EU by weakening workers’ rights.”

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