While it was working people with their courageous struggles who won us our rights at work, from paid holidays, to maternity pay and equal opportunities they are mandated by our membership of the EU. It is the UK government that is seeking to restrict many of those rights, with legislation such as the (Anti-)Trade Union bill.
From protection for part time and temporary workers to protection from discrimination; from rights for working parents to the right to paid holidays and a regular lunch break; from health and safety to promoting employee voice; the EU has been fundamental in making the British workplace a fairer and more equal place.
You only have to look at the Tories’ approach to workers’ rights to see the clear risk of leaving the EU. European rules are a safeguard against the Tories’ love of deregulation and their attacks on trade unions.
The Working Time Directive introduced a maximum 48-hour working week, a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours, a weekly rest period of 24 consecutive hours and rest breaks during the working day. There are now 700,000 fewer employees working more than 48 hours a week compared to 1998 before the introduction of the Working Time Directive.
We know that for many British workers today these rights are not respected but our membership still offers us all better protection and our rights at work would be a likely first target in a UK outside the EU.