Union movement will stand up for workers in wake of Brexit

Friday 24 June 2016

In the wake of the results of the UK referendum on EU membership, European trade union leaders called for action to protect the real economy on a difficult day for the UK and for Europe.

The European Union should view the result of the British referendum as a chance to kick start action for a new deal for working people in Europe. Workers want a change in economic course for Europe and do not want to stay stuck in the rut of economic austerity. Trade unions and social partners will work with the EU institutions to ensure that politics and politicians put people, not markets and trade, first.

“The European crisis requires the European Union, businesses and unions to develop a plan of action to bolster the real economy. The European trade union movement will work together to protect workers’ rights in Britain as well as across Europe,” said UNI Europa’s Regional Secretary, Oliver Roethig.

“Brexit should not trigger a race to the bottom on workers’ rights. We will be working in solidarity with our UK affiliates to ensure that corporate opportunism does not pit European workers against each other.”

“Brexit shows that the political leadership of the European Union has lost its bearings. We need to turn Europe around so that it serves workers and citizens rather than big corporations. We need the EU to be at the forefront of the push to improve living and working conditions.”

“We will have to fight for a strong Social Europe. Let’s all work together – governments, EU institutions, NGOs, employers and unions – to create a Europe for all.”

“The Brexit vote has global ramifications. We have been warning political leaders worldwide for some time that the economy is not working for the people.  Exclusion breeds anger and parties of the right are quick to exploit the politics of hate and division,” said General Secretary of UNI Global Union Philip Jennings.

“Already, financial markets are in turmoil. The speculators are at work. We are anxious that a chain reaction of economic uncertainty will damage the real economy.”

“It is a time for steady nerves and economic action to reassure markets that steps are taken to protect the real economy.”

General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady said, “As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, the first priority now is to protect jobs and defend the living standards of working people.”

“The government must urgently set out a plan to defend UK industry and keep British jobs. That means defending the pound and stimulating the economy.”

“Working people must not pay the price for the decision to leave the EU.”

Commenting on the results of the UK referendum on EU membership, Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation, said: “It must be a wake-up call for the EU to offer a better deal for workers.”

“There is deep disillusionment across Europe, not only in the UK. Austerity, cuts in public spending, unemployment, the failure of governments to meet people’s needs, the failure of the EU to act together are turning people against the EU.  Workers want an EU that takes action to improve their lives.”

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ETUC press release https://www.etuc.org/press/brexit-vote-eu-must-take-action-improve-workers-lives#.V2zd7zUYOX4

TUC press release https://www.tuc.org.uk/international-issues/europe/eu-referendum/working-people-must-not-pay-price-leaving-eu-says-tuc