UNISON, the UK’s biggest public sector union with 1.3m members, will be urging its members to back an ‘In’ vote on the 23rd June following the results of a consultative survey of its members.
Almost four in five (78%) of UNISON’s health, local government, education, energy and police branches wanted the union to take a stance in the EU referendum. Of these, a stunning 95 per cent of those surveyed wanted UNISON to campaign for the UK to stay in Europe. 65,000 members took part in the consultation through their branches.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Europe isn’t perfect, but on balance staying in the EU has so much more to offer nurses, teaching assistants, town hall staff and other public servants than an uncertain future where the UK goes it alone.
“Brexit fears have just seen the UK’s growth forecast downgraded. NHS, local government, school and police employees bore the brunt of the last economic downturn, and are still paying the price. The last thing anyone wants is another recession where jobs, living standards and public services are back on the line.
“Without the laws that began life in Europe, most people at work in the UK would be getting a very rough deal. If the June vote is to leave the EU, it would then be up to the government which laws stayed and which laws went. Unscrupulous employers would have a field day.
“UNISON may have had its doubts about Europe in the past, but now the chips are down and exit is a real possibility, public sector workers know that the services they deliver, and the public that relies on them, will be much better off in than out.”
Responding to the news, Another Europe Is Possible convenor Luke Cooper said:
“The decision of Britain’s biggest public sector union to back an ‘In’ vote in the EU referendum is a major boost to the remain camp. But more than that it also strengthens the voice of ‘In’ campaigners like us who believe passionately in social justice, protecting workers’ rights, speaking out unequivocally for migrant and refugees, and safeguarding our environment. These are values sadly absent from the mainstream debate in the media, which is preoccupied with the Boris versus Dave road show.
“Unison joining the campaign for ‘In’ provides a much needed boost to the voice of the left in this debate.
“The South West Region of Unison has already affiliated to Another Europe Is Possible and made a generous donation to our fundraising efforts. We very much look forward to working together with Unison nationally, regionally and locally, to promote our shared message and values to their members and the general public.”
13th April 2016