Brexit and Lexit, A Tale Of Two Unions

Rosie Cooper declares herself to be a member of USDAW

(Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) which states “We share the TUC’s view that the consequences of a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be a catastrophic for working people. The TUC has today made it clear that any deal must meet their tests and the people must have their say on any deal with an option to remain”.

But a move to change Aslef’s policy on Brexit

(the train drivers’ trade union was the first to come out in favour of leaving the EU after a referendum was called by David Cameron), was decisively rejected at the Annual Assembly of Delegates in Leeds in May 2019.

Aslef stated “The EU referendum, which was about infighting in the Tory Party, not about the best interests of the UK, is the most democratic, and most destructive, exercise in our history. We did adopt a Lexit, a left exit, position and that position was debated, at length, by the executive committee. And nothing we said at the time has changed.

“The Lexit argument didn’t take off because we have forgotten what it is like to be a socialist. We have a Brexit, not a Lexit. The Tories are not going to deliver a Brexit for workers. So we have two right-wing arguments, made for staying and leaving.

“The EU is a capitalist trading bloc, with the free movement of capital and labour, and we feel the EU is beyond reform in its present state. And we want to change our own government, too, which is in a mess.”

General secretary Mick Whelan said “We didn’t lie to people. Our Lexit was not about stopping people moving, but about stopping social dumping. I’m the son of Irish immigrants and have nothing against people moving if they get paid the same as everyone else.

“John Major lied [no surprise there then!] when he said membership of the EU meant we had to privatise our railways. And we lobbied against the Fourth Railway Package because we didn’t want our colleagues and comrades on the continent to go through the pain we have”.

Delegates voted 77-3 not to change Aslef’s policy on Brexit.

So, anyone who smears #Brexit as a ‘right wing project’ might want to tell the ASLEF trade union. Their delegates have just voted overwhelmingly 77-3 AGAINST changing Aslef’s pro Brexit policy stating “We feel the #EU is beyond reform”.

“Whatever way you cut it, any Parliamentary manoeuvre to vote against the deal is playing politics, and playing politics with potentially dangerous consequences. The backlash against any parliamentary blocking of democracy will be fierce. The uncertainty caused by continuing delay will deepen distracting divides and harm the economy.

“The deal ends the control of the unelected, neoliberal Commissioners and anti-trade union, anti- worker European Court of Justice. It ends the fiscal constraint rules of the EU that have devastated our public services.

“It ends the procurement rules that have rubbled our industries. It brings our territorial waters back under our control and lays the basis of re-establishing our fishing industries. It brings our borders back under our national control enabling us to begin proper labour market planning.

“It gets rid of the Common Agricultural Policy and compels us to construct a greener, more self-reliant plan to produce more of our own food. It ends the dark policy underpinning the economy whereby the EU demanded Britain focus on financial services instead of real production and a balanced economy.

“It means we can avoid becoming embroiled in the EU’s developing common military policies and formation of an army. Above all it cleanly removes us from the single market and customs union, which is why many say it is worse than the May deal.

“It therefore frees our elected Parliament from the control of those we don’t elect. It puts our country back in our own hands. This is why the fear mongers who say it will lead to deregulation and a hand over to the US miss the point”.

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