date: 29 February 2012
embargo: For immediate release
On the day that Parliament debates the new European Treaty, and as Ireland announces a referendum, British unions will be taking part in a day of action today (Wednesday) called by the European Trade Union Confederation against that Treaty.
Unions argue that the Treaty is unfair, undemocratic and will create a downward spiral of unemployment and debt. The TUC is concerned that the Treaty will tie the hands of individual governments - and therefore electorates - preventing them from doing anything to boost growth and jobs during economic downturns.
In the UK, the government's decision to walk out of discussions on the new Treaty, while supporting its objective of cutting public spending and services, has left British people without a voice in those negotiations.
So TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has travelled to Brussels to see the President of the European Commission, Manuel Barroso and the President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, while in London trade unionists are being encouraged to contact the embassies of the 25 EU member states still involved in the negotiations, urging their governments to put jobs and social justice first and scrap the Treaty.
French and German trade unionists will join the TUC's spokesperson on Europe (and CWU General Secretary) Billy Hayes later today to hand in a letter at the French, German and Greek embassies in London to warn of union fears about the consequences for working people and their families if the new Treaty goes ahead.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'This Treaty promises a bleak future for ordinary people across Europe. It would put a strait-jacket on growth, living standards and jobs and do permanent damage to communities as services are cut to the bone. And it would prevent voters from putting jobs and growth first by tying politicians' hands.
'The British people need a voice in Europe but the Prime Minister's decision to walk away from the Treaty means the UK has no influence on a piece of legislation that will dramatically affect all of our futures.'
Brendan has written to David Cameron and Nick Clegg pointing out the unfairness of the Treaty, saying that the permanent austerity measures it will usher in will fall hardest upon on the shoulders of the weakest. Meanwhile the banks whose reckless lending did so much to cause the problems now affecting the world's economy continue to award themselves huge bonuses and are failing to invest to help get economies growing again.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- A copy of the letter to the Prime Minister is available at http://www.tuc.org.uk/Cameronletter
- French trade unionist Didier Hotte from Force Ouvriere (one of the country's union confederations) and German trade unionist Claudia Menne from the ETUC will join Billy Hayes for symbolic hand-ins at the French Embassy in Knightsbridge, the German Embassy in Belgrave Square, and the Greek Embassy in Holland Park.
- The TUC is urging people to email the ambassadors of the 25 countries whose governments are still involved in the discussions setting out why the Treaty would be so damaging for workers, employers and communities across Europe http://www.tuc.org.uk/ambassadoremail
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: [email protected]
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: [email protected]
Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: [email protected]
Issued: 29 February, 2012