Jeremy Corbyn: Brexit will destroy the rights of millions of UK workers

Posted On: 
2nd June 2016

Jeremy Corbyn will today warn that the Conservatives will destroy the rights of millions of workers if Britain votes to quit the EU.

Jeremy Corbyn campaigning for a Remain vote last week
Credit: 
PA Images

In his most powerful intervention of the referendum campaign so far, the Labour leader will say "a Tory Brexit negotiation would be a disaster for the majority of people in Britain".

The move comes as new leader of the GMB union Tim Roache urged Mr Corbyn to do more in the fight for Britain to stay in the EU. 

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Mr Corbyn will point to new research which shows that 26.7 million people in the UK enjoy workplace rights which are protected by Britain's EU membership.

They include 28 days of paid annual leave, at least one day off per week and 11 consecutive hours' rest in any 24-hour period.

Other workplace rights, which Mr Corbyn will say are protected by the EU, include maternity leave and equality legislation.

The Labour leader will say: "A vote to Leave means a Conservative government would then be in charge of negotiating Britain’s exit. Everything they have done as a government so far means we could not rely on them to protect the workplace rights that millions rely on.

"A Tory Brexit negotiation would be a disaster for the majority of people in Britain."

REMAIN AND REFORM

Mr Corbyn will say that by contrast, a Labour government would ensure that workers' rights were protected.

"When we make the case to remain, we also make the Labour case for reform," he will say.

“A Labour government will protect the gains that have benefited our people while energetically pushing for progressive reform in Europe, in alliance with our allies across the continent, a vision of a Europe of co-operation and solidarity.

"We can reform to get a better deal for consumers; to strengthen workers’ rights across Europe and prevent the undercutting of wages; to meet the challenges posed by migration and the refugee crisis; to end the pressure to privatise public services; to democratise the EU’s institution and bring them closer to people; and for reforms to ensure we generate prosperity across Europe to the benefit of all."

But Vote Leave campaigner Gisela Stuart said the EU had been a "disaster" for UK workers and noted the high unemployment levels in eurozone states.

She added: "Workers' rights are not something that have been gifted to us by the EU, they have been hard won here at home and should be protected by a Parliament that is properly accountable to voters in the UK."

CORBYN 'COULD DO MORE'

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Roache said his "biggest concern" over the 23 June referendum was that Labour voters would "stay at home".

A recent study and poll showed many party members were unsure as to where Labour stood on the issue - despite almost all of its senior figures campaigning for Remain.

But Mr Roache argued members might not see it as "the absolutely crucial vote that it is" and added: "I also think that they see it as a bunfight in the Tory party."

On Mr Corbyn's role in the campaign specifically, he said: "I think he probably could do a bit more, let's hope he will."