Brexit was always a project led by nationalist far right forces who wanted to divide UK workers.
With Europe and the world at the most dangerous moment since World War II, it’s essential that we fully engage in all the issues set out in this section.
But coming from a 1 million strong UK union how can I not mention Brexit and the devastating effect that is having on the UK’s economy and society.
And I want to stress this, as Owen Reidy from the Irish Congress Of Trade Unions said a couple of days ago, although the UK has left the EU – our trade union movement has most certainly not left Europe or the European trade union movement!
Brexit was always a project led by nationalist far right forces who wanted to divide UK workers from their brother and sisters on the continent – and we must all continue to work tirelessly to stop that happening!
It’s in all our interests to stop the UK becoming a deregulated haven for business – so we really need you to keep the pressure up from the EU side.
If the UK starts to violate the level playing field provisions of the TCA – then the EU must act and act fast to stop it!
And make no mistake – this battle is a long way from over yet!
Having driven the UK off the Brexit cliff – the UK government is now busy attacking workers by holding pay down and restricting even further our rights to strike.
And as the next election approaches there is no doubt at all that they will turn up the racist and anti-migrant rhetoric further.
But UK workers are fighting back to defend their living standards in the biggest strike wave in over 40 years – and the union movement will continue to fight back and resist.
But our cooperation and involvement with each other on European issues can and must go much further.
Because what happens on the continent of Europe will still have a massive impact on us whether the UK is in or out of the EU.
And what happens in the UK will also have a massive impact on you.
So I assure you that we will continue to be part of the struggle to stop the rise of racism and the far right in Europe.
We will continue be part of the struggle for a just transition to protect jobs and European manufacturing.
We will continue to be part of the struggle to maintain and develop a social Europe.
And we will continue to be part of the struggle to push for more equality and social justice at the global level.
Aa class and a union movement, our job is always to resist division, to continue to fight for solidarity and unity, and to continue to move forward together.
My union, Unite, will remain fully involved in IndustriALL-Europe, and indeed in all the other 5 European federations we are in, we will carry on fighting with you for the Europe that all our members need.
Speech made at the ETUC on May 25th