LABOUR members against the EU took issue with TUC claims yesterday that workers’ rights could be thrown on the scrapheap if Britain votes to leave.
Researchers of the TUC’s report said “no-one can say” whether paid annual leave, time off for antenatal appointments and fair treatment for part-time workers could be maintained if Britain left the EU.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Working people have a huge stake in the referendum because workers’ rights are on the line.
“These rights can’t be taken for granted. There are no guarantees that any government will keep them if the UK leaves the EU.
“And without the back-up of EU laws, unscrupulous employers will have free rein to cut many of their workers’ hard-won benefits and protections.”
However Labour Leave campaigners said these rights had never been gifted by the EU in the first place.
Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins told the Star that “profit comes before workers’ rights and pay when the crunch comes” within the common market.
“Workers’ rights are actually under attack in the EU, which is promoting zero-hours contracts under EU flexible market rules,” he said.
“Countries in receipt of bail-outs have been required to put the brakes on collective bargaining rights and free movement is simply a device to bring down wages and drive up profits.
“Jeremy Corbyn has promised that the next Labour government will restore and protect trade union and workers’ rights and that is where the trade union movement should be putting its trust.”
The TUC report, titled UK Employment Rights and the EU, says many workers on fixed-term contracts have gained greater job security as a result of EU legislation.
Ms O’Grady added: “The question for everyone who works for a living is this: can you risk a leap into the unknown on workplace rights?”
But Labour Leave secretary Brendan Chilton said: “It was the trade union movement that won workers’ rights in Britain.
“The threat to workers’ rights comes from staying in, because of [trade deal] TTIP, which will see public services including the NHS, placed at the mercy of multinationals.”