Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Euro candidates must restore working people’s rights - UNISON

Date: 22 April 2009

UNISON, Scotland’s largest public service union, today called on Euro election candidates to back campaigns to overturn negative European legal rulings and restore the human rights of working people, following the approval by the Scottish TUC in Perth of a composite moved by the RMT union.

The composite calls for a ‘Social Progress Protocol’ to be inserted into the Lisbon Treaty – to hold employers to national collective agreements and to back the right to strike.

Jane Carolan, from UNISON’s National Executive announced that UNISONScotland had released a European election manifesto, which calls for a range of measures to be introduced to defend workers rights, and is calling on Scottish members to judge the policies of the political parties on a range of issues – workers rights, the environment, anti-racism and others - before they cast their vote.

Jane said “Recent decisions of the European Court of Justice have asserted the primacy of the economic freedom of business and undermined national labour law and collective agreements. The Viking, Laval, Ruffert and Luxembourg judgements have made clear that the market rules, and that public services and employment and collective rights are therefore always under attack.
“Unless we defend our rights we will end up in a Europe in which capital roams free and where labour is cheap, plentiful and unprotected – neo liberalism writ large.

“The European Trade movement needs to develop teeth to deal with a capitalist system fighting for its own survival and one that has already proved that it has little truck with the problems of working people.”


Note for editors:
The Viking judgement said that the collective action by the Trade Unions contravened Article 43 of the EU Treaty. The right of business to freedom of establishment anywhere in the EU. In Laval, the collective action of trade unions was deemed to be in breach of business freedom to provide services within another EU state. The same considerations apply in Ruffert and Luxembourg.

UNISON’s European manifesto is available on the UNISON-Scotland website


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