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EU has been great for workers’ rights

WHEN I hear ordinary people say they support Ukip or promote one-man band Farage, when it is clear they do not understand what Ukip stands for, it makes me sad. The so-called “burden” of the EU, a major myth they peddle, is the human rights legislation which has provided better conditions and legal protection in the working lives of people, unknown until the last Labour Government signed up to the EU’s Social Chapter, which the Tories would never do. These rights include: the right to four weeks’ paid holiday a year; limits on the hours that children and young people can work, making it illegal to sack mothers for becoming pregnant or taking time off for antenatal appointments; equal treatment for workers employed by an agency: the right to tea breaks and one day off a week; parental leave for up to 18 weeks if your children are under five; and a requirement for employers to protect health and safety at work.

When the Tories and Ukip talk about the red tape and laws made out&de of their country which they want to scrap, and to make their own, this protection and improvements to working lives so long fought for is what they want to rid themselves of. All political parties agree that the EU needs some amending, but these tight-wing parties are never about producing good conditions of service and rights to workers. Memories are short. Do they remember through the long Tory years when groups of workers had to go to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to appeal against the many injustices then? Sadly political awareness in our part of the world appears to be at a very low level. How many people do really understand what they are voting for?

Anne Belworthy
Herne Bay

Herne Bay Times, June 18th 2014

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