We are now just over a month away from the key European elections on Thursday May 22nd– elections that really matter to us here in Wales, not least because around 150,000 jobs in Wales are dependent on European funding and the Welsh Government’s Jobs Growth Wales programme is part funded by the EU but also many of our workplace rights come from European legislation.The European Parliament is, unfortunately, currently dominated by the right wing parties, if we want to protect and extend workers’ rights and the benefits we get from Europe then we need to get more Labour MEPs elected on May 22nd.
Right, so we have that clear then, 'Vote Labour to protect worker's rights.'!
Unite they have been pretty consistent in their opposition calling for higher Labour standards in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
Workers Uniting, a three million member trans-Atlantic labour union, has issued a call to European Union and U.S. trade negotiators to strengthen social and labour protections in the proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
“We view TTIP as a threat to the rights of workers in Europe,” said Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite the union in the UK and Ireland. “We can’t afford to import America’s low labour rights standards.”
So the position of the Unions are quite clear, they believe that signing up to the TTIP will bring 'workplace rights' in the EU down to the low standards suffered by US workers.
Let's compare that with the stance taken by our Labour MEP's in the European Parliament where you would expect them to vote against the TTIP, but that didn't happen as outlined in the Labour Futures blog :
Last week Parliament debated the Transatlantic Trade and investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated – in secret – between the EU and USA. It was almost universally approved on both sides of the House, with only one Labour and one Tory MP expressing scepticism or opposition. It was argued that it will stimulate trade by removing tariffs and thus promote jobs and economic growth.
That is nonsense since these tariffs are already at minimal levels. Even US and EU officials admit that the real goal is to remove regulatory ‘barriers’ which restrict the potential profits to be made by transnational corporations . Yet these ‘barriers’ are in reality some of our most valuable social standards and environmental regulations such as labour rights, food safety rules (including restrictions on GMOs), regulations on the use of toxic chemicals, digital privacy laws and even banking safeguards introduced to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crash.
So again why isn’t the Labour Party wholly opposed and not even demanding that the veil of secrecy over the current negotiations be immediately lifted so that the public can be aware of what is being negotiated ostensibly in its name? This goes to the heart of Parliamentary politics today. The Blairite domination of the Labour Party from 1994-2007 perverted Labour from a social democratic/socialist party into a fully signed up neoliberal capitalist party.