The EU Myth of the Origins of Workers’ Rights

The Bakers Union is one of the few fighting unions that is campaigning for a socialist exit from the EU. Here follows a short section from the opening address that was given by the Bakers Union president, Ian Hodson, at their 2016 annual conference:

Opposing the EU

“Standing together and fighting is so valuable: if we fight together, we will win together. Let’s not be divided and conquered. And sometimes we have to ask what the TUC does, and who it represents, sometimes it seems out of touch with workers and trade union members, and so we have to ask why we have to make payments to it? What function does it perform?

“Since David Cameron became Prime Minister in 2010 we have seen what’s left of workers’ rights in this country being attacked and torn apart by this government. Yet despite this, and an almost universal call for a general strike, the best the TUC has had to offer is a few marches around London, a few celebrity speakers at rallies, and some catchy slogans that mean and achieve precisely nothing!

“Workers are being shafted time and again over the last six years with total prejudice, where is the direct action? Even the TUC’s comments around the EU have a tone of surrender to them. They seem to be perpetuating a myth that all workers’ rights originate from Europe, and that only Europe can protect them. The majority of workers’ rights in the UK were won by the UK labour movement, and being in the EU hasn’t stopped Cameron and his mafia from attacking the trade unions and working people on a daily basis.

“The role of the trade union is to protect workers’ rights. Anyone expecting Angela Merkel or Christine Lagarde to do it will be sorely disappointed. Look at how the French trade unions responded; they didn’t organise peaceful marches and roll out snappy soundbites; they don’t sit around and wait for the EU to protect them either.

“Look at the recent dispute regarding the French government and their attempts to attack their longstanding trade union laws, the French unions won’t hesitate to close the country down if they see fit. The likes of Connelly and Harding, not to mention the Chartists and Tolpuddle Martyrs along with other greats that built our movement would be sobbing at the lily-livered and spineless TUC we have in 2016.” – Ian Hodson – June 12, 2016.


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