ETF stands in solidarity with UK workers, their trade unions and all affected by Brexit

15 May 2019

The following statement was adopted at the ETF Executive Committee in London on 10 May 2019.

The European Transport Workers’ Federation reaches far beyond the 28 EU member states, with affiliate unions in 41 countries. No matter what happens with Brexit, the UK will remain a European country and UK workers will always be part of the ETF family. That is why we held this week’s Executive Committee in London, to show solidarity with UK unions and learn about the potential impact of Brexit on transport workers.

There is still no clear outcome in sight, but workers in the UK are worried about job cuts and attacks on their rights. And we must recognise that transport workers – whether UK citizens or not – are one of the groups with most at stake. A hard or chaotic Brexit could spell disaster, with massive job losses across the transport sector and a race to the bottom in working conditions.

The ETF Executive Committee stands in solidarity with all workers impacted by Brexit, and calls on leaders to reach a solution that respects these principles:

  • We must avoid a no-deal Brexit. A sudden or no-deal Brexit is a dangerous fantasy that would hurt workers all over Europe.
  • Citizens’ rights must be protected.No EU citizen in the UK or UK citizen in the EU should be forced to leave their home or their job as a result of Brexit.
  • The UK and EU rules must maintain the highest standards on workers’ rights. All workers in Europe, in the UK as well as in the rest of the EU, must be protected from the social dumping that would be unleashed if the UK government attacks the protections that workers depend on. Trade unions will work to defend and enhance standards.
  • The UK should retain a permanent customs union with EU, and a close relationship with the single market – with dynamic alignment on regulations that protect workers, consumers and the environment. This is the minimum solution to defend not only jobs, but also peace in Northern Ireland.

The ETF is built on international solidarity, and in these complex times we are unwavering in our commitment to UK workers, their unions and everyone impacted by Brexit. We already see some companies using Brexit uncertainty as an excuse to avoid bargaining on wages and attack collective institutions like European Works Councils. We must remain vigilant to these risks and stand together to defend our members.

In approving this statement, the ETF Executive Committee pledges solidarity with everyone affected by Brexit. We commit to work cooperatively and in coordination with all affiliated workers’ organisations across Europe to defend Fair Transport, inside or outside the EU.