RMT general secretary Mick Cash explains why his union is campaigning for a Leave vote in the referendum on membership of the European Union which is to take place on June 23rd.
RMT and its predecessor the NUR has a longstanding and principled opposition to this country’s membership of the EU and the Common Market before that on the basis that it has a negative impact on industry and for workers.
Delegates to the 1979 NUR annual general meeting at Paignton backed a motion from Sheffield City branch to campaign for UK withdrawal, a policy that has been reaffirmed time and again up to the present day.
This is because members see the impact of EU policies of liberalisation and deregulation, gleefully imposed by pro-EU Tory governments over the intervening period, which has devastated one industry after another.
The implementation of rail directive 91/440 by Tory prime minister John Major in 1996 which broke up and privatised British Rail with disastrous results is just one example of the bonfire of public services demanded by the EU in the name of profit.
The EU has also promoted the undercutting of wages and social dumping leading to the decimation of UK seafaring jobs and the same is now happening in the offshore sector. EU directives also require the tendering our public ferry services.
Today more and more workers are suffering from the results of these policies with continual attacks on members’ jobs, wages and terms and conditions.
The latest example of this is the fact that Arriva, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, has taken over the Northern Rail franchise, exposing the nonsense of German state operator DB taking over services at the expense of investment in British railways.
These moves also bring the threat of Driver Only Operation, the sacking of the guards, rail safety, jobs and front line passenger services.
Some may argue that it is better to stay inside and fight for something better but, as we have seen, that is impossible as, under the Lisbon Treaty, any changes must be agreed by all 28 member states which is never going to happen.
So Vote Leave on June 23rd.
This article first appeared in the April issue of RMT News