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Monday 23 May 2016

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Left trade unions issue joint statement calling for EU exit on June 23rd

Last week three trade unions representing over 120,000 workers - the RMT, ASLEF and the BFAWU Bakers Union - issued a joint statement setting out their case for trade unionists to vote for Leave in the EU referendum. The statement reads:

"Many great figures of the labour moment such as Tony Benn, Michael Foot and Bob Crow were firmly against the EU. Millions of Labour voters oppose the EU and we believe a similar number of trade unionists support withdrawal.

"Whatever the result of the EU referendum the labour and trade union movement will continue to fight against injustice and austerity.

The EU is anti-worker and cannot be reformed

"We support a Leave vote in the forthcoming referendum because we believe the EU acts overwhelmingly in the interests of big business and against the interests of workers.

"We note that David Cameron secured only very minor changes to EU rules and believe this demonstrates that there is little hope of reforming the EU.

The myth of the EU and workers' rights

"It's a myth that the EU has won workers' rights and protections for workers. Nearly all the laws that protect workers in Britain are UK laws which have been won by the struggles and campaigns of the British trade union and labour movement.

"In fact, the EU and its European Court of Justice have accelerated their policy agenda which attacks trade union rights, job protections and wages.

Defend our NHS and progressive legislation

"The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade agreement being negotiated between the EU and the United States will promote big business at the expense of sovereign governments and their organisations including our NHS.

"Environmental regulations, employment rights, food safety, privacy laws and many other safeguards will also be secondary to the right of corporations to make even bigger profits.

The threat to democracy and from the far right

"The majority of the laws which affect our lives are now made in the EU and not the UK. This is a major problem because a distant link between law makers and the electorate creates a vacuum which could be exploited by the far right.

"Big decisions such as TTIP are being made with very little regard for democratic oversight and cannot be reversed at the ballot box.

Internationalism not isolationism

"We are internationalists. We believe workers throughout the world, in Britain, America and Asia, as well as Europe, have more in common with each other than the heads of big business in their own countries. Out of the EU and into the world.

No fortress Britain. No Fortress Europe

"Unlike UKIP and others we don't believe Britain should be an island unto itself. Our country, and indeed many countries, are nations of immigrants. We want everyone to get a fair rate for the job and everyone to have the same rights at work.

"We don't support fortress Britain and so we don't support fortress Europe. We profoundly regret that children and families fleeing poverty, persecution and war not being allowed into Europe.

"The challenge we need to address is not the distribution of people around the world it is the distribution of wealth and resources. There is enough wealth for everyone's needs".

The RMT is a key component part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), having had official representatives of the union on the TUSC national steering committee since an AGM decision in 2012. ASLEF and the Bakers Union are affiliated to the Labour Party.