Workers benefit from union

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Lots of trading of statistics about trade between the two sides in the Europe debate – will it or won’t it be better after an exit from the EU – is speculation.

What is to my mind important is recognising that those of us who have worked for a living at some time over the last 43 years since we joined what is now the EU, have benefited enormously from our membership of the EU during our working lives.

So many things that we now take for granted and indeed what we treasure, are legislative improvements that some would say have been dictated to us by those pesky unelected interfering Brussels bureaucrats.

It was European legislation that for instance first gave us our legal right to paid holidays and improved beyond recognition health and safety provisions at work.

Having worked as a lawyer in manufacturing industry for most of my working life, I can attest to the vast improvements in this area in the workplace.

It was European legislation that first gave us free healthcare when we are on holiday in the EU, and equal pay rights between men and women for work of equal value, though sadly this has not been very well enforced in the UK.

It was European legislation that first gave us parental leave when having or adopting a child and it was that same European legislation that first gave us protection against being forced to work more than 48 hours a week.

It was European legislation that protects employees’ working rights if the business or department they work for is sold off to another owner or, as has been the case for many local and national government employees, their employment is transferred to new private ownership.

And thinking about jobs, if we were to leave, where are all the civil servants who would be needed to renegotiate our arrangements with the EU, negotiate all the new trading arrangements we need for our economic life outside the EU and change all the laws that those pesky unelected interfering Brussels bureaucrats forced upon us?

Oh, and by the way, whilst a proposal for EU legislation may have come from the Commission, on which the UK is represented,that legislation also has to be approved by the European Council on which the UK is represented politically and also by the European Parliament, where there are currently 73 UK members, you elected in June 2014.

Though it has to be said not all UK MEPs play an active role there.

For instance, one of our own South East MEPs, Nigel Farage, had the worst UK attendance record, taking part in only 44 per cent of all votes in the last 20 months.

Stephen Hardy

George Close

Robertsbridge

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