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Liz Snape: Trade unionists know you don’t win for the collective by walking away

A vote to stay in the EU doesn't mean accepting the Europe we have

liz snape

Liz Snape is the President of the Trade Union Congress. In a blog post written exclusively for Another Europe Is Possible she explains why she’ll be voting ‘In’ on the 23rd June. 

The European Union is imperfect. If you were designing it from scratch today you certainly wouldn’t construct it in the same way.

It’s responsible for the imposition of painful austerity in many European countries – most notably Greece. It’s a confusing series of inter-locking institutions.  How it works and where decisions are made within it is far too unclear – largely thanks to a serious democratic deficit. And yet – despite all of that – I’ll be voting for Britain to remain in Europe. Because I believe that another Europe is possible.

A vote to remain in the EU on June 23rd is not a vote for the status quo – it’s a vote to stay in Europe and fight to change it for the better.

Trade unionists know that you don’t get what’s best for the collective by walking away. You don’t win for your members by abandoning the debate. And you don’t achieve real solidarity by going it alone.

David Cameron has presided over a sideshow debate on the future of our country and our continent. He has sought to protect the vested interests of the City of London and make the debate about migrant benefits when instead it should be about our jobs, our pay, our rights and our future prosperity.

David Cameron’s debate is about free market Europe. But that flawed model has only ever been part of the Europe we’re all part of. A social Europe – underpinning the rights and freedoms we rely on but often take for granted – is crucial for trade unionists and for trade unions. As part of Europe, we’re guaranteed four weeks paid annual leave, parental leave (including maternity leave) and equal treatment for part-time workers. Outside of Europe we’d be at the whim of the government of the day.

The European Union is undoubtedly imperfect, but it is a union we are stronger as part of, one we can help shape together and one that provides us with crucial protections. As Trade Unionists we must do what we do best – stand and fight for a better deal.

And a better Europe.

15th March 2016