With the vote on Britain’s membership of the EU fast approaching, the question of workers’ rights – and how best they can be protected and extended – has been granted a level of scrutiny unusual in the capitalist press.
But welcome though it is, the debate has been posed in misleadingly stark terms. The remain campaigners tell us there will be a ‘bonfire of rights’ should we vote to come out; the leave campaign points to the increasingly totalitarian role of the EU, against which there can no resistance.
Both groups employee a zero-sum, all or nothing, logic, which has led to understandable fear and frustration amongst voters.
We each have our own opinions of the EU – I have made mine perfectly clear elsewhere – and this article is not intended to challenge these views.
But what I do want to say is that if you are concerned about your rights, you need to join a trade union NOW!
As evidenced by the repressive labour laws currently being forced on France, Belgium, Greece, Britain, and elsewhere, neither the EU nor national governments can be trusted to ensure our rights.
The organised working class – as expressed in the trade union movement – is, as it has always been, the only guarantor of workers’ rights.
And with the prospect of yet another massive economic recession in the next year, the need to become actively involved in the labour movement has never been more pressing.
Posted below is a short summary of some of the main trade unions below.
For most jobs you can join UNISON, Unite, or GMB. If you are a shop worker join USDAW, and if you work in the food industry join BFAWU. Students and unemployed people can join Unite Community.
If anyone is uncertain about which union to join, don’t hesitate to contact one of those mentioned above.
Although we cannot individually control the outcome of the referendum, we can control whether or not we are in an organisation which has a proven track record of defending and advancing our rights.
Join a union!
Join the fightback against austerity!
Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU)
Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU)
Communication Workers Union (CWU)
Community and Youth Workers’ Union (CYWU)
General, Municipal, and Boilermakers (GMB). A general workers’ union, including the International Union of Sex Workers as a branch.
National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO)
National Union of Journalists (NUJ)
National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT)
National Union of Teachers (NUT)
Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)
Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT)
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW)
Unite the Union
Unite Community (includes unemployed and students)
University and College Union (UCU)