The labour movement is failing to voice the interests of workers and their families in the Brexit debate, according to Britain’s Communists.
‘Echoing the fears and aspirations of the CBI, the Institute of the Directors and the City of London casino is not the same as speaking up for working class interests’, general secretary Robert Griffiths told the Communist Party’s political committee on Wednesday evening.
He was speaking as Britain and the EU embark upon the second round of negotiations to exit the European Union.
‘Securing access to the European single market need not mean capitulating to the treaties, directives and institutions of the EU, which serve the interests of the capitalist monopolies’, Robert Griffiths argued.
He pointed out that numerous countries around the world trade with the EU without giving up their right to decide their own trade, financial, industrial or immigration policies.
‘Most of British big business wants to keep Britain as closely aligned as possible with the Single Market because its rules for the free movement of capital, goods and labour, together with the right of companies to operate in any country they choose, enables them to maximise profit at the expense of working people’, Robert Griffiths added.
The Communist Party leader warned that EU treaties and directives would be used to impede a future Labour government’s programme to boost infrastructure investment, take energy, water, railways and the Royal Mail back into public ownership, extend state aid to industry, prevent import ‘dumping’, promote regional development and regulate the terms of public sector contracts in favour of trade union recognition, equal opportunities, training and tax compliance.
He highlighted a string of rulings by the European Court of Justice to restrict the rights of elected governments and trade unions to take action to protect imported, outsourced or redundant workers.
But Robert Griffiths also insisted that the alternative to alignment with the EU single market is not ‘the Tory neoliberal wet dream of deregulated markets, cheap and flexible labour and free trade agreements by which companies can take elected governments to special courts’.
Instead, he urged the labour movement to promote a third option beyond the EU and global neoliberalism.
‘In order to prosper, the workers and peoples of Britain need public investment, public ownership, economic planning, collective bargaining and a fair immigration policy instead of “Fortress Europe” discrimination and the super-exploitation of migrant workers’, he proposed.