CAROLINE SMITH: EU membership is best for the workers

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As an active trade unionist with Unison, I am proud to say that my union, which is the largest public services union on Britain representing 1.3 million members, has thrown its support behind the Remain campaign.

Unison believes a vote to remain in Europe is not a vote for the status quo, it’s a vote to stay in Europe and fight to change it for the better. The common belief of trade unionists is that you don’t get what’s best for the collective by walking away and you don’t achieve real solidarity by going it alone.

What Europe has achieved and defends for working people is a vast array of rights which provided protection in work and elsewhere. Whether it’s maternity leave, paternity leave, guaranteed paid holidays, proper breaks at work or equal rights for part-time workers, tens of millions of British workers have a lot to lose by exiting the EU.

A social Europe, underpinning the rights and freedoms we rely on but often take for granted, is crucial for British and European workers.

Outside of Europe we would be at the whim of the government of the day.

The last few Tory governments have shown little respect for workers’ rights with zero hours contracts, increased privatisation and the draconian trade union bill.

Please consider the vulnerability of our rights as working people if governments like ours have free reign over these rights and no Europe to protect us.