The GMB union will be advising its 631,000 members to vote to remain inside the European Union in the upcoming referendum now called for 23rd June. But the union’s new general secretary, Tim Roache, has warned that the EU has ‘lost its way’ and must return to the vision of a social Europe of rising living standards and working class protection.
Importantly, he also committed the organisation to not promote any arguments that pit ‘worker against worker’ and uphold the internationalist tradition of the labour movement. In comments following the announcement of the referendum date he said:
“One of the worst kept secrets is that the EU needs reform. The vision of a social Europe raising living standards and building the economies of new member states has lost its way. In truth it has been diverted by business interests over working families.
“The exploitation of people desperate for a better life has been growing in recent years. Undercutting wage rates and denying local people jobs has become the visible signs of this corporate exploitation. It’s wrong, it’s outrageous and it is completely stoppable. Not by voting to leave the EU, but by demanding a return to that vision of a social Europe.
“Does anybody actually believe that the European laws on things like maternity and parental leave, health and safety protections, equal rights for part time workers, TUPE , paid holidays and so much more would be protected by the Conservatives, UKIP or any of their fellow travellers? Dream on if you do.
“GMB will be honest and informative throughout the process. GMB will not seek or promote any argument that pitches worker against worker. This coming vote is about our future, about a vision of what a social Europe can bring.”
22nd February 2016