TRADE UNIONS must not give the impression they are prepared to fl out the “democratic will of the people” on the EU, Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan warned yesterday.
The rail union leader was addressing a Trade Unionists Against the EU (TUAEU) fringe on the theme Is Socialist Planning Compatible with the Single Market?
Mr Whelan warned that the EU’s fourth railway package will impose the disaster of Britain’s privatised railway across its member states and prevent renationalisation.
Paul Embery, TUAEU national organiser and a member of the Fire Brigades Union executive, said he would “defend the right of those in favour of the EU to campaign to get us back in.
“What they are not entitled to do is to block the decision before it has been implemented.”
Leaving the EU would not deliver a “land of milk and honey.”
But if it was not “a sufficient step to build a better society, it is a necessary step.”
There could be no socialist future in a single market that is “the embodiment of all-pervasive, all-dominant capitalism that sees workers shunted across borders at the behest of big business,” he cautioned.
And he added: “If you send people the message that the EU is responsible for our rights and without it working people will go like lambs to the slaughter, people are going to start asking themselves why they are members of a trade union in the first place.”
Luton MP Kelvin Hopkins attacked the caricature of Leavers as xenophobes. “Europe is a wonderful place,” he said.
“The European Union is a political construct designed to take away democracy and prevent socialism.”