In the Summer 2016 edition of Foodworker magazine, Ian Hodson, the President of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) explains:
“Whilst we, as a union recognise that people may have differing views on the ‘in’ or ‘out’ campaigns, I think it’s worth mentioning that membership of the EU has not prevented any of the government’s relentless anti-Trade Union attacks since 2010 and when you look at the issues the TUC [Trade Union Congress] are raising by way of making the claim to stay in the EU, to say they are being disingenuous, would be an understatement.
“For instance, they seem to be suggesting that the EU is responsible for the few rights that Trade Unions have left. It wasn’t EU legislation that gave us the Equality Act; – it was the women of Dagenham who went on strike before we joined. The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, which is still the spine of virtually all UK safety legislation didn’t come from the EU either.
“Also, the suggestion that the minimum wage somehow came from the EU and would be put at risk by ‘Brexit’ is also incorrect. It was the Trade Union Movement in the UK that campaigned for it, and it was the then Labour government of the UK that introduced it. To see former TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber sharing a pro-EU platform with David Cameron is just plain wrong on so many levels, particularly as it came on the day after the implementation of more draconian legislation to restrict workers.
“The BFAWU’s position on the EU is driven by it’s inherent lack of democracy and the appointment of unaccountable and unelected Commissioners who make the big decisions, as opposed to elected MEPs who could and should be held to account in elections. The EU is not worker – or people-friendly. It operates via the cosy relationship between the Commission and big business. You only need to look at Greece in order to realise who the EU really works for.”