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Why voting to Remain in Europe will protect our rights at work


Remaining in the EU will safeguard our rights at work from those who want to take them away from workers across Dartford and the country, writes Jonathon Hawkes


Would you trust Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith with your rights at work? No, me neither. However, that’s exactly the risk we will take if we vote to leave the EU.

Our membership of the EU means British people benefit from rights at work including the right to holiday pay, paid maternity and paternity leave, anti- discrimination laws, equal pay and protection for agency workers. If we leave, those rights won't be protected - they'll be in the hands of the government of the day. With the Tories engaged in civil war and Brexiters already measuring the curtains in Downing Street, the loss of these hard won rights is no idle threat. Gove, Boris and their mates are showing every sign that a future Tory government led by the Outers would waste no time in stripping away our rights at work. We can stop that terrifying prospect by voting to remain on 23 June.

Let’s look at how the EU protects us at work

  •    Protecting Part Time Workers - 34% of all working people in the Kent work part-time. If you work part time you are benefitting from EU rules ensuring that part-time workers cannot be discriminated against in comparison to their full-time co-workers.


  •    Protecting Work Life Balance - The European Working Time Directive means every working person in Europe receives a minimum of four weeks of paid annual leave. The Directive also helps you control how long you work for. Unless you choose to opt out, you cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours in a 7-day period, and you cannot be forced to work more than 13 consecutive hours in a day.


  •   Protecting Agency Workers - Many people in Dartford are agency workers. EU law protects temporary and agency workers, who are often in the most precarious jobs.


  •    Protecting Women at Work - The EU protects the rights of female workers to take paid maternity leave and the right to receive equal pay to men. EU law also stops pregnant women from being treated unfavourably by employers. 


There is no guarantee that these rights would be protected if the UK withdrew from the EU. In fact, they are one of the main reasons why many politicians on the Right want us to leave. We’ve all heard those Conservative and UKIP politicians talk about getting rid of EU ‘bureaucracy’ and ‘red tape’ – what they actually mean is getting rid our rights at work – rights that will be at serious risk should we vote to leave the EU.

Standing up for our rights is an important part of why the Labour Party is IN for Britain. Labour have always believed we achieve more together than we do alone and our membership of the EU ensures that we benefit from equally high standards at work, instead of suffering from equally low ones. When we work together in Europe, we ensure that the people who want get rid of our protections at work are never the loudest voices. We give that protection up at our peril. 

On 23 June lets vote to Remain in the European Union and stand up for our rights at work.


Jonathon Hawkes is Leader of the Labour Group of Councillors on Dartford Borough Council


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