TRAIN drivers have become the latest group of workers to swing behind a vote against EU membership, the Morning Star can reveal today.
Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to scrap his planned victory Cabinet meeting last night after being snubbed by top European officials as he sought his “renegotiation” of Britain’s common market membership.
The TUC and a number of its largest affiliates, including general unions Unite and GMB, are set to support a vote to remain in the EU.
But drivers’ union Aslef has passed policy saying that workers’ rights offered by Brussels are “far outweighed and undermined by the benefits given to big business and banking.”
The motion, passed by Aslef’s executive last week, singled out the treatment of the Greek government in austerity negotiations alongside dangerous trade deal TTIP and plans for further “liberalisation” of the railways as reasons for leaving.
A union source said the decision was taken with the proviso that Aslef would not campaign alongside “any of the racist, misogynist xenophobes of Ukip and the like.”
Aslef joins fellow rail union RMT and the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union in taking an official stance against the EU — though the latter will debate the issue again at its conference this year.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is currently consulting members and reps before coming to a position which will then be put to this year’s conference. It is thought the executive will recommend a vote to stay in.
But FBU London secretary Paul Embery, who supports leaving the EU, told the Star: “The decision for trade unionists is straightforward.
“The EU is a pro-austerity institution. EU laws are designed to let market forces rip — as seen on the railways and with Royal Mail.”
In Brussels yesterday, eastern European countries were resisting Mr Cameron’s demand for an “emergency brake” on benefits for EU migrants to be in place for as long as 13 years.
French and Austrian ministers said that protections for non-eurozone countries would stymie development of the single currency.
Mr Cameron’s tactics came under fire, with Czech minister Tomas Prouza saying he was “perplexed by the British approach of non-negotiation.”
And European Parliament president Martin Schulz swiped: “We must make clear that the method: ‘I will tell you what you must do in order for me to stay’ doesn’t work.”