Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

EU Has Not Helped Unions; Letters

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

EU Has Not Helped Unions; Letters

Article excerpt

ONE of the reasons I, as a socialist, am voting for Brexit is that the EU has led an assault on collective bargaining for workers. For millions there is no rate for the job other than the minimum wage.

Here in the UK, thanks to a process started by Maggie Thatcher, we have seen trade union rights undermined or dumped - 82% of workers were covered by collective bargaining agreements in 1979 but that has been slashed to 20%.

However, the EU has accelerated the process across the Channel. The coverage of collective bargaining has plummeted in states such as Greece, Portugal and Italy. In Romania, for example, collective bargaining coverage fell from 98% in 2011 to 36% in 2012.

The result, upheld by the European courts, is "social dumping" which has seriously damaged workers' ability to protect themselves by insisting on the rate for the job established by negotiation.

That has led to a flow of cheap labour into higher-wage economies like ours. …

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