One of the most militantly left-wing trade unions has urged its members to vote in favour of Britain leaving the European Union (EU) in June’s referendum, contradicting the advice of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) leadership.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has recommended that its members reject the advice of the General Secretary of the TUC and vote for Brexit in the upcoming European Union (EU) In/Out referendum. Summing up their position, the Financial Times reports the union told its 80,000 members:
“It’s a myth that the EU is in favour of workers.”
The general secretary of the RMT, Mick Cash, said the union is “proud to stand up for the tradition of progressive and socialist opposition to the European Union, an organisation wedded to privatisation, austerity and attacking democracy.”
As a general objection, the union argues that the EU attacks collective bargaining and other workers’ rights in economic reform deals foisted on Member States that have received financial bail outs, such as Greece.
More specifically to their membership, it also claims that EU policies entrench privatisation, making the renationalisation of British railways impossible, and have “decimated” the UK’s maritime industry through undercutting. The Express reports Mr. Cash expanding on his pro-Brexit argument, saying:
“It would be frankly ludicrous for a union like ours to support staying in a bosses’ club that seeks to ban the public ownership of our railways, attacks the shipping and offshore sectors and embraces the privatisation of the NHS and other essential services that our members depend on.”
Although the RMT is not a small trade union, it does pale in significance alongside larger unions like Unite (with roughly 1.42 million members) and the General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union (about 631,000 members) who backed the campaign to remain in the EU. Unison, a union representing 1.3 million members, has yet to announce its position.
As General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady recently urged workers to vote to stay in the EU, warning that leaving would jeopardise a whole raft of rights that pro-Remain campaigners from the left of politics claim have been granted and guaranteed by membership of the politico-trading bloc.
However, as Breitbart London previously reported, even the mainstream media’s leading cheerleader for Britain remaining in the EU admits the outcome of the referendum will have little effect on UK workers’ rights.