Let’s protect workers from the Tories

Catherine Stihler MEP, co-chair of Scottish Labour for the Single Market, marks International Workers’ Day 2018.


Today, countries across Europe are celebrating May Day.

On this important day, when we commemorate the international labour movement, we can be proud of the Labour Party’s commitment to workers’ rights over the decades. The welfare state, the minimum wage and tax credits are just a few of our great achievements in office, working hand-in-hand with our trade union allies.

But our party’s current Brexit policy risks putting workers’ rights at risk.

There is a reason why the Tories want to leave the European Single Market. Their plan is to rip apart the rights and protections that the British people have come to take for granted. Whether it’s maternity and paternity rights, or rights for those with a disability, these rights at work are part of the European deal, and we do not have to leave these behind because of Brexit.

That is the Tory choice; it’s not ours.

When Labour signed up to the European Social Chapter in 1997, this is why we did so: to stop a race to the bottom, where bad firms can undercut the good employers, and where all workers are protected. This is exactly what the Tories hate about the Single Market; we can’t let them get away with trampling all over workers’ rights.

There is another reason hard-line right-wing Tories hate the European Single Market: it protects us from them. When over-powerful right-wing governments have stamped all over the rights we fought for – whether in tackling injustices perpetrated by Tory governments, or trade union rights we all enjoy –  British citizens have taken on the Tories with the help of our friends in Europe.

On International Workers’ Day, we should celebrate the contribution that European migrants have made to our economy. The Tories want to end the free movement of people, but we know that our country is better off when we attract talent from neighbouring countries.

The Tories see anything to do with Europe as a threat to their divine right to bulldoze their way over ordinary British people. But we have fought them before, and won. This fight is ours to win now.

Let’s protect workers from the Tories. Let’s do all we can to keep the UK in the European Single Market.

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11 thoughts on “Let’s protect workers from the Tories

  1. Brexit is a disaster Every day the NHS is sending out distress signals they are having great difficulty in keeping and recruiting staff from EU countries and we need them .The NHS cant cope without them.
    At a recent meeting on brexit In Saltcoats Barry Gardner MP was guest speaker . During questions I said that last October when I attended the public meeting of the Ayrshire and Arran health board they had made savings of 25million I call it cuts. We were told that Ayr and Crosshouse Hospitals cannot recruit key staff .
    Staff members complained about their workload and staff shortages in their departments a staff member from Spain said he has worked at Cross house for 3 years and does not know what will happen to him after Brexit .
    I told him I have seen local people here shouting at and saying look at them Polish guys over here doing our jobs .
    This was at roadworks 3 times I have heard this and when I spoke out they turned on me .
    After the meeting an EU worker who said she was to afraid to speak thanked me for speaking up .
    I told Barry Gardiner as we left and he said he saw It every week at his surgery .
    The EU debate never got past immigration .The questions being asked now should have been asked at the referendum .I want a public education debate followed by a 2nd binding referendum.
    I am a Labour party member who would like a serious word with that crowd in London .
    I did not vote for this and I did not vote to get poorer nor did I vote to destroy the country for me all of this is happening .And because of it I am considering voting for Independence at Indy 2 if there is one.
    All over the UK we are seeing job losses mergers and takeovers on a massive scale .
    In North Ayrshire unemployment is up 8 per cent or 270 people the Next shop is to close 22 jobs at risk RBS today announcing more branch Closures and job losses .
    People in fear of losing their benefits and worrying about how they will cope for me we are back in the 80s
    I joined in 83 when Labour campaigned every day to improve peoples lives I believe Richard Leonard and his team are on my side and are getting it right .
    That shower in London are more interested in fighting amongst themselves rather than do anything for me
    They can start by rather than organizing demonstrations against each other .Demonstrate on my behalf and on behalf of the millions who are desperate to end Tory rule and start by showing you even understand our problems and how to get power .Like how to win the next general election because without power we will do nothing
    And doing nothing is what will happen if we lose the next Election and if we do we will deserve what we get .

    1. David,
      I have to remind you, we are where we are because of Labour. Scottish Labour Saved The Union. Remember The Pledge; vote No to keep Scotland in the EU?
      No point greetin now. Be a big boy and own up to your mistakes.

  2. Thanks for your comment Richard
    I am a rangers supporter so I have been greetin for a while and will probably be greetin for a while haha.
    Yes I voted remain at the EU ref unlike some leading lights in the SNP .Including Alec Neil who told Alec Salmond on his show that he voted for brexit but did not campaign .He also said the Scottish Cabinet discussed the pros and cons of leaving the EU Although they did not think it would happen .
    In 2014 I also voted remain I was surprised to read in last weeks National 2 days running on the E mails page it was Labour Party members who got the yes vote out in Glasgow and Dundee
    The EU vote never got past immigration and I would not lift a finger to help Scottish fishermen or farmers .They funded and campaigned Leave so they can stop greetin
    Should say Neil Findlay voted brexit as well I believe .

  3. David,
    May I be a bit too forthright; you sound a bit confused.
    Dont try and make sense of it. Take a leaf out of Duncan’s book, say you believe in something, a totally abstract concept such as ‘Federalism’, the political equivalent of time travel. Or Catherine Stihler, who thinks its still enough for our elected politicians to just keep on banging away on the old drum, “Let’s protect workers from the Tories”.

  4. Or Richard Leanard (as I speak on FMQs), blame Sturgeon for every suicide in Scotland.

  5. Thanks for your comment Richard someone has to protect the workers and with todays news of House of Fraser There might not be anyone left to protect .Or we might have to beg China and America for help they are the ones doing the buying

  6. Richard regarding what you said about Richard Leonard at FMQS
    I have not seen todays FMQS yet but can I refer you to Brian Taylors analysis on the BBC news website .

  7. Richard you are wrong about RL blaming Nicola for every suicide in Scotland .He was asking detailed questions backed by the mans family .Nicola appeared to know what he was talking about .The attacks like that on RL seem to be a common occurrence from Nationalist supporters it does your cause no good.

    1. David,
      Unlike you I did watch FMQs on Thursday. Leonard asked a question about funding cuts and referenced a recent suicide. The parents of the victim were in the public gallery. That is not a coincidence. It must have been arranged, by someone within Scottish Labour. In my book that is an unacceptable stunt. It denigrates Scottish politics. Leonard should know better than to stoop to such a level.
      To be honest I dont like talking about this, using a personal family tragedy to make a cheap political point is indefensible.
      Finally, let me correct another of your misconceptions, I dont have a cause.

  8. I did watch it later he was not blaming Nicola for it he was asking detailed questions yes someone must have arranged for them to be there .And judging by Nicolas answer I think she knew what was coming .
    I was referring to the constant labour bad coming from the SNP and supporters
    But thanks for your comment

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