Wages will be £38 a week lower and manufacturing will fall into steep decline if Britain votes to leave the EU, according to a new report – Better Off In: working people and the case for remaining in the EU – launched today by the TUC.
Speaking at an event to launch the report, as she unveils the TUC’s latest campaign poster, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady will set out the negative impact Brexit will have on wages, jobs, and rights at work.
The reports finds that by 2030 the average weekly wage will be £38 lower if Britain leaves the EU. And for many working people – whose wages have not yet recovered since the 2007 crash – this would be a high price to pay.
The report also finds that Brexit would have a particularly devastating impact on Britain’s manufacturing firms. The manufacturing sector would be hit seven times harder than the services sector because it currently exports so much to the EU.
The TUC says that jobs in manufacturing tend to be higher-skilled, higher-paid and more secure than service sector jobs. So Brexit would not only mean job losses, but a worsening of the quality of work available in the UK.
The report concludes that the best option for working people is to vote to remain in the EU.
On the need to change the debate, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady will say:
“To date, the debate about our membership of the EU has been dominated by business. But today I want to change the tone and set out why working people should vote to Remain.
“My message is simple. At a time of continuing hardship, Brexit would be a disaster for working people – for our wages, for our jobs and for our rights.”
On the threat to wages and jobs, Frances O’Grady will say:
“Working people will be £38 a week worse off if we leave.
“£38 a week may not be much for politicians like Boris Johnson – a man who described his £250,000 fee for a weekly newspaper column as “chicken feed”.
“But for millions of workers, it’s the difference between heating or eating, between struggling or saving, and between getting by or getting on.“
On the threat to jobs Frances O’Grady will say:
“What’s absolutely clear is that jobs would go. And not just any old jobs – we’d be losing high-pay, high-skill, high-productivity jobs.
“We’d lose manufacturing jobs that pay £100 a week more than service sector equivalents. These are good jobs in the regions outside of London that need them most.
“Our manufacturing sector, still battered and bruised by the recession, would be hit hard. And inequalities between regions would get even wider.
“That’s why leading firms such Airbus UK, BMW Mini and Ford have come out so strongly against Brexit.”
On the impact of Brexit on workers’ rights, Frances O’Grady will say:
“The EU underpins rights that not only make our working lives better, they make our lives better full stop.
“Pregnant women have the right to paid time off for medical appointments. Parents have the right to time off to look after a child who’s ill. Part-time and agency workers get equal treatment to give them decency and dignity rather than insecurity.
“Brexit would put all of these rights and more at risk. Brexit campaigner Priti Patel let the cat out of the bag when she told the Institute of Directors that leaving the EU would enable us to cut these regulations by half.
“And that’s why I’m warning people that their rights are on the ballot paper, and a vote to Remain is a vote to keep them.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Speech, report launch and photoshoot: 9:30am, Wednesday 1 June, Coin Street Green Space, SE1 9PP, behind the National Theatre
· TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady will launch a poster campaign in central London next Wednesday (1 June) aimed at persuading voters to remain part of the European Union.
· The event will coincide with new TUC research published today (Wednesday) on the impact of leaving the EU on weekly wages for the average British worker. A full advance copy of the report Better Off In: working people and the case for remaining in the EU embargoed for 00.01hrs, Wednesday 1 June can be found atwww.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/BetteroffIN.pdf
· Frances will be available for photographs and interviews with an ad van featuring the campaign artwork. This will take place at 9.30am at the Coin Street Green Space, SE1 9PP, behind the National Theatre.
· Frances will be joined at the event by car manufacturing workers, and will give a short speech on the dangers facing working people if there is a Brexit. This will be followed by a question and answer session.
- The TUC commissioned an independent legal opinion from Michael Ford QC on the consequences of Brexit for UK employment law and workers’ rights. A full copy can be found atwww.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Brexit%20Legal%20Opinion.pdf. Based on past history and extant policy documents, Michael ford suggests the workers’ rights most vulnerable to repeal are:
· Collective consultation, including the right for workers’ representatives to be consulted if major changes are planned that will change people’s jobs or result in redundancies (as have been used in recent major announcements in the steel industry).
· Working time rules, including limits on working hours and rules on the amount of holiday pay a workers is entitled to.
· EU-derived health and safety regulations.
· Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE), i.e. the EU-derived protections to the terms and conditions of workers at an organisation or service that is transferred or outsourced to a new employer.
· Protections for agency workers and other ‘atypical’ workers, such as part-time workers.
· Current levels of compensation for discrimination of all kinds, including equal pay awards and age discrimination.
See paragraphs 3 and 107 of the opinion for an overview, and paragraphs 27 to 80 for full details.
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
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