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Usdaw calls for the UK to remain in Europe to protect and improve workers’ rights

Date: 15 September 2015 Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett has today called for the Trades Union Congress to make a positive case for a people's Europe, a European Union that will strengthen and not water down employment rights.

Speaking at the TUC in Brighton, John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “The European Union has assisted workers to get more rights, strengthening rights to breaks and paid holidays, part-time workers have won equal treatment and a lot of the protections against discrimination flow from Europe.

“These rights and protections are under threat from the Government’s renegotiation of the UK relationship with the EU prior to the referendum. The Conservative renegotiation strategy is a thinly veiled attack on workers' rights and we need to offer an alternative to the Tory and UKIP negative portrayal of Europe. We need to show how the EU has delivered employment rights that help protect workers.

“The European Union is not perfect. However, improvements that will benefit workers will only come about as a result of continued membership of the European Union. Now is not the time for the politics of national isolationism.

“We must respond to today’s challenges by strengthening our links across Europe. British exit from the European Union is not the answer. We need to make the positive case for Europe, a people's Europe, a social Europe."

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth largest and the fastest growing trade union with over 440,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

For Usdaw press releases visit: www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers