Graham Stringer MP: The EU Makes a Mockery of Workers’ Rights

Trade Union Rally
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Graham Stringer, Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton and former Government Whip under Tony Blair, has written this exclusive article for Get Britain Out:

The EU Makes a Mockery of Workers’ Rights

One of the oddities of contemporary British party politics is that the ‘right’ have almost monopolised scepticism and opposition to the EU.

This is especially strange given Labour’s historical opposition to the Common Market, the EU’s predecessor, from the fifties well into the eighties.

For a third of a century the leaders and members of the Labour movement understood there was a fundamental contradiction between support for the EU and the protection of British workers and our democracy.

One speech by Jacques Delors to the TUC in 1988 dissolved this principled stance. He persuaded the Trades Unions, the heart of the Labour movement, that the European Community could protect them from the ravages of Thatcherism. There were some short term gains but the chickens from this Faustian pack are now coming home to roost.

Free movement of workers both skilled and unskilled are providing unprecedented levels of competition for jobs in the UK. The trade unions can do little to protect workers job security. Worse than that, the European Courts of Justice have ruled the free movement of Labour enshrined in the Treaty of Rome takes precedent over national minimum wage legislation. Two rulings (the Laval and Viking cases) have demolished national minimum wage laws.

On a wider democratic front some of Labour’s most cherished and popular policies are unlikely to survive scrutiny by European Court of Justice. We can forget ambitious plans to renationalise the railways and Royal Mail or place a cap on energy prices.

Not to mention the fact that Labour’s plan to force UK companies to create new apprenticeship for British citizens equal to the number of people employed from outside the EU will not be allowed under the single market rules.

The institutions of the EU have ensured the interest of multinational companies take precedent over national laws and workers’ rights. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will effectively give multinationals powers over national governments and parliaments.

These barriers to the progress of organised labour have to be set against a background of the disaster of the Euro which has created an unprecedented level of unemployment and perpetual recession.

The failure of the economic policies pursued by the Marie Antoinette’s of the European Commission, have created fertile ground for extremist parties. But of course these rascals cannot be removed by the ballot box.

It is extraordinary that Labour, the main left of centre party which carries the hopes and aspirations of many working and unemployed people, is still supporting the job-destroying democracy-demolishing EU monster.

The EU cannot be reformed. Most of the objectionable policies are locked in the treaties, and there is no chance of persuading the other 27 EU members to vote for change. Fifty five times this country has tried to block Commission proposals – and fifty five times we have failed. We have diminishing influence as the EU increases in size. Now, the EU is just transposing rules on trade, agriculture, finance and automobile manufacture from world bodies. The UK would be much better off representing itself as an independent country at these global regulatory bodies.

Its time Labour returned to its roots and pursued democratic policies which protect workers and fought for an independent democratic United Kingdom outside the EU.

 Graham Stringer MP



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Published by Get Britain Out


  • Mark Everest

    Correct me if my memory deceives me… wasn’t it Labour party policy in the early 1980’s to withdraw from the then 9 member EEC?

  • Ukipall Theway

    How do the Laval and Viking cases undermine minimum wage laws? The rulings upheld the right to strike of local workers in a country where a contract has been won by a foreign company who then bring in their own workforce from said foreign country and pay them less than the country where the work is being carried out? Surely that supports minimum wage legislation?

  • Nigel Lander

    Can’t understand Labour’s thinking here – wasn’t it them who started unfettered immigration under Tony Blair??

    • PaderB

      Although in no way a Labour supporter, I have to come to their defence here. It was TONY BLAIR under Tony Blair that in his unbridled ambition to take us completely under the thrall of the EU that allowed for the mass immigration. It had nothing at all to do with the wishes of the true Labour Party supporters. To Blair and far too many of the current Labour Politicians, the Party is just a vehicle for them to enter politics as part of their personal ambition. Which is why so many of those in power were parachuted into safe seats in the Northern heart lands because the likelihood of election to a Labour seat was almost guaranteed yet few were known and even fewer had any political affiliation to the traditional Labour voter.

      • Rob Silvertree

        I left the Labour Party with the death of John Smith, after decades of loyalty. Blair was too ….shallow and bling, best describes him…..Rotherham means that I will never return. Labour has betrayed every aspect of the English working class and it is a kindness to let it die…A kindness to the English…They are now speaking of a coalition with another anti English Party, the SNP….What hope is there if these two parasitic parties leech on the English together.

  • Stuart

    Whatever happened to the International Solidarity of socialism? This article sounds like it has come from the pen of John Redwood. What a bunch of unprincipled chancers Labour have become

    • Pat McCrann

      the International solidarity of socialism is what some would now call the NWO. One of its bodies is the EU, another is the UN. Its language is called PC and its aims are government too big for you to control. More fool you for falling for it.

  • Mike Carroll

    Back in the 70s it was entry into a Common Market. That was all. Bit by bit we have been sold down the river into what is known as the EU losing our sovereignty and any real clout we had in the world. I for one hate everything about it. i will vote for out if given the chance.

  • vernony

    Nigel. Unfettered immigration is a part of the Treaty of Rome, not the exact wording but it runs roughly. Member states are to accord the same rights, as their own nationals, to people of other members states in their application for jobs, housing and social benefits. They are not doing anything illegal, we (Harold Wilson) signed that is what we would do. Since this works very well for some of the poorer nations in the EU, it takes away their unemployment problems , it brings money into their countries in the form of family allowances and pensions, they are therefore very unlikely to support us if we try to change the Treaty of Rome . So the only we we can stop it, is to get out of the EU

  • vernony

    They have been able to come here, as we have also been able to go there, since 1973. Nothing to do with Blair

    • PaderB

      It WAS Blair that dispensed with the 4 year moratorium on immigrants from new member states from immediately coming to Britain (as did Ireland). This resulted in a massive influx of mainly Polish immigrants in a very short time.

  • roythebus

    Odd that the trade unions seem to like TUPE, an EU law which protected thousands of health service workers against the ravages of Thatcher’s excesses of privatisation. I recently won a case against a county council under TUPE, a council who thought TUPE didn’t apply to them! If EU employment laws are so bad, why is it German train drivers retire at 55 with full final salary pension; those same drivers in the 1980s enjoyed a 37.5 hour week for far more than BR drivers were getting for working 13 out of 14 days all the time and retired at 65. Mind you, Germany has only this year adopted the minimum wage laws. Get real. Wages and conditions in this country were light years behind most of Europe until fairly recently. did you know that until the 1990s there was no statutory annual leave in the UK? Bank Holidays were paid for, but unless your contract said you got paid for annual leave, you weren’t entitled to it!
    I’d rather be ruled by the elected EUrocrats than by the self-centred twats than run UK PLC with their corrupt voting system. At least they’re voted in and out by proportional representation. How is it at one election here the Tories get 28% of the national vote but an overwhelming majority in the House; at the next election Labour get a similar share of the vote and get an overwhelming majority? The system is corrupt and when the Tories offered us PR, they chose an obscure system of PR that very few wanted.

  • john garside

    There is no such thing as the Labour Party in this dayand age. Just slightly left of the Tories.