Weakening workers rights will not convince “blue collar” voters to remain in the European Union (EU), says the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, says the Tory Government “is playing with fire” by reducing the working rights of “blue collar” voters in the UK.
Frances O’Grady said: “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.”
Frances O’Grady will set out ‘strong message’ on the EU referendum during an inaugural Ken Coates Memorial Lecture at the University of Nottingham.