Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, has today written to the union’s members urging them to vote to remain in the EU.
With only nine days to go, the letter calls on Community’s diverse membership to choose the certainty and protection of remaining in Europe over the risk and exposure of leaving.
Speaking about the letter, Roy Rickhuss said:
“Trade union members and their families will be crucial to the outcome of the referendum. I know that many of our members will be considering voting to leave, but I believe I have a responsibility as General Secretary to set out clearly why I believe a ‘remain’ vote is the best choice for working people.”
Text of the letter:
Soon everyone will get to cast their vote on one of the biggest political issues for a generation. Whatever happens, the result of the EU referendum vote will have a big impact on all Community members and their families. It’s a big decision.
Being part of the European community has undoubtedly changed our society. I know people have strong views on both sides of the debate and many of our members may have made up their minds. The EU isn’t perfect, but by staying in we can work with others to improve it.
On balance, Community believes being in the EU has been positive, especially when it comes to rights at work. Being outside we’d still be bound by many of the same rules but without any say in how they are made and our rights at work would be at risk.
The public debate between the two opposing sides is hard to follow with claim and counter claim. Community’s steel members may hear leave campaigners blame the EU for the current crisis in the industry. But I know for a fact that it’s the UK government that is blocking higher tariffs on Chinese steel and its UK ministers who decided not to intervene to save Redcar. This vote isn’t just about steel; all our members are affected when it comes to rights at work.
The EU has helped deliver equal pay for men and women, a ban on sex discrimination, rights for part-time and agency workers, rights to paid holidays, maternity and paternity rights and the health and safety standards which protect people at work. All these rights, which are secured by our membership of the EU, protect working people against any UK government which seeks to attack our members’ rights at work.
That’s not all. Being part of the EU opens up our market to half a billion consumers and investment worth £66 million every day, which supports the jobs of thousands of our members.
As polling day approaches, Community is campaigning for the UK to remain. Last year delegates at Community’s conference voted unanimously for the union to support the ‘in’ campaign. In a world that is growing ever closer together, now is not the time to drift away from our closest neighbours and biggest customers.
We should stay in Europe, make it better and protect our jobs and families, that’s why I’ll be voting “remain” on 23 June.
Yours in solidarity,