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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

UK must not spark ‘race to the bottom’ on workers’ rights in the EU

THE UK must not spark ‘a race to the bottom’ on workers’ rights, London’s Green MEP Jean Lambert has told trade unionists from across Europe at a Madrid conference today.

Speaking after an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Ms Lambert criticised David Cameron’s position that the EU should be all about promoting the interests of big business rather than people.

She said: “Giving working people the freedom to live and ply their trade anywhere in the EU, safe in the knowledge that their workplace rights are the same across the union, and will be upheld, is a cornerstone of what the EU’s all about.

“But David Cameron wants to repatriate workers’ rights: by branding them as a a ‘burden on business’ he wants to see a race to the bottom in which every EU nation makes up its own rules on workers’ rights – and standards for everyone fall as a result.

“Greens and trade unionists have a very different vision: one in which the EU is based on a shared, robust, set of core standards on such matters as protecting the health and safety of workers, rights for part-time and agency workers, time spent at work, and so on.

“I’m delighted to be at this ETUC conference in Madrid today, along with hundreds who want to see moves towards a more equal Europe and investment in creating new jobs for a sustainable future, rather than pushing austerity.”