The Tory government is preparing to bind workers and a future Labour government with EU market and competition rules after Britain leaves the EU, according to the Communist Party.
‘Big business is putting huge pressure on Prime Minister May and her negotiating team to reach a settlement with the EU that would prevent any form of democratic intervention in the economy through an alternative economic and political strategy’, International secretary John Foster told the party’s Political Committee on Wednesday evening (August 2).
He warned that any transitional or post-exit treaty with the EU that accepted existing single market or customs union rules and institutions would outlaw policies to support industry, control capital, regulate trade or use public procurement contracts to promote local employment, trade unionism, upskilling and R&D investment.
John Foster pointed to the European Free Trade Association court judgement in the Holship case as an example of how EU competition and ‘right of establishment’ law is used to undermine trade unionism and workers’ terms and conditions. Last year, the EFTA Court ruled that a collective agreement protecting the pay of Norwegian dockworkers was invalid under EU treaty law, despite the views of Norway’s own supreme court.
‘More trade union leaders need to speak out about the dangers that the single European market and its super-exploitation of “posted” workers pose to jobs, living standards, local communities and strategic industries’, the Communist Party international secretary suggested. He welcomed, therefore, the recent decision of Britain’s third biggest union, the GMB, to oppose continued membership of the European single market.
Britain’s communists said it was now urgent to bring down the minority Tory government before it could commit Britain to rejoining EFTA and its European Economic Area with the EU, or accepting any further jurisdiction here of the ‘anti-trade union’ EU Court of Justice.
The Communist Party also warned that the Tories and their big business paymasters are seeking trade and investment deals with the USA, Canada and other countries that would enshrine capitalist free market principles, putting corporate profit before the interests of workers and consumers.
On the controversial issue of the so-called free movement of people, John Foster accused the EU of hypocrisy and racism.
‘The main concern of the EU has always been to ensure that businesses can employ desperate workers from one part of Europe on terms that undermine pay, conditions and trade unionism in another’, he declared, ‘Free movement has never been extended to people outside “Fortress Europe”, most of them non-white, who have been kept out by ever rising barriers’.
The Communist Party political committee called on the British government unilaterally to grant residency rights to foreign nationals living here and to repeal all discriminatory immigration and nationality legislation passed since 1980.