NATIONAL LIBERAL TRADE UNIONISTS have recently marked two of the most important days in the industrial calendar. Workers’ Memorial Day (WMD) is held on 28th April every year. Here trade unionists “remember the dead, but fight like hell for the living.” And 1st May – also known as International Workers Day – is when the entire trade union movement celebrates its core values, history and heritage. Trade unionists will also be looking towards a future date – 22nd May – with interest. This is when UK voters go to the polls to elect a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) who will represent them in Brussels and Strasbourg. So what should our attitude be towards the European Union? Possibly the easiest way of answering this is to examine our principles. We can see if the workings of the EU – in any way – relate to them. National Liberal Trade Union principles are defined as: “liberty (putting the individual member first) and patriotism (defending workers from globalisation), and be liberal (increasing employee share ownership) and economic (focusing activity in the workplace) in practice.” (1)
We feel that the EU is a supra-national institution. Thus it is centralist, beaucratic and globalist in nature. It is more of a capitalist set up and favours the banks and super-rich elites. It has little (or no) interest in promoting a decent, healthy existence for ordinary working families. As trade unionists we’re also worried about the Austerity Agenda which it seems to have been imposed across the whole of Europe. In the UK, this has resulted in savage cuts to jobs, services, pay and conditions. This has inevitably increased poverty and deprivation in various communities. The EUs policy of allowing the ‘free movement of capital and labour’ between EU member states is also of great concern to us.
It means that British industry can (and has) ‘upped sticks’ and chased – and exploited – the lowest wages across Europe. At the same time, mainly working-class areas of Britain have seen a massive influx of Eastern European workers, who understandably want to improve their lives. However, the result of their movement has placed enormous strains upon local services.
Bearing all of these concerns in mind, the question for National Liberal Trade Unionists is simple and straight forward: How Should Trade Unionists View The EU? The debate will be held on the National Liberal Trade Unionists facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/277840098977231
• CHECK out our previous NLTU debates here: