IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

What has EU done for ordinary people?

10 March, 2017

• I VOTED Remain in the EU referendum because the leaders of the Leave campaign did not present a plan and were prepared to give our sovereignty away to the United States. Then there was the appalling misinformation about spending £350million a week on the NHS. If you had just waited in a casualty department for eight hours or for two years for an operation this would sound great.

But is the EU really a good thing for ordinary people, unskilled or semi-skilled workers, many working in zero-hours contracts who have no steady income, non-guaranteed work, no redundancy pay and no pension? They are often summoned to work at a few hours’ notice. They don’t know from one week to the next whether they will have enough to pay their rents. Their employers abuse them frequently. The working conditions are appalling. If they complain next time they might not be offered any work.

These people have a lot of competition to get work and its mainly minimum wage when they get it. Then on top of this they often live in very expensive, overcrowded accommodation which is in disrepair. In a lot of cases if they complain they might face eviction. They would be paying most of their income on rent, as there is very little regulation or rent control. Where is the EU in all this?

Many owe money to ruthless loan sharks. Many might have student loans to pay back. The EU never protected us from tuition fees. These people are often depressed and in apathy. They don’t feel the EU has done anything for them. Its main purpose is to provide services, establish business, and move capital and labour.

It’s true there are laws that protect employees, but unfortunately they are being undermined by zero-hours contracts and self-employed work. Full-time work is being replaced by part-time work so people often have to do three or four jobs a week just to pay rents.

The EU has not protected pensions or workers being dismissed. It’s no wonder the British people voted to leave the EU as it’s neoliberal, with the exception of when it bails out foreign banks.

Now that people have voted to leave we must accept this and fight for better rights that cannot be undermined by such matters as zero-hours contracts, which must be abolished.

We must strive to have much better rights in the workplace, rights to genuine affordable housing and rights to further education on a grant system rather than loans. We need better healthcare and must invest in people, not banks.

We need to make Britain a much better place than any EU country. Let’s support Jeremy Corbyn and get Labour elected in 2020 with policies that are for ordinary people and not the big corporations.

MARK STILL
N5

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