RMT general secretary Bob Crow explains why No2EU is standing in the 2014 European elections.

25 years after then European Commission president Jacques Delors addressed TUC Congress in Bournemouth promising full employment, better workers’ rights and protection from Tory free market policies in return for full support for the ‘European project’, it is clear that delegates were sold a pup.

Unemployment in the Eurozone remains at a record 12 per cent.

In countries forced to make huge spending cuts in return for ‘bail-outs’ by the ‘Troika’ of the IMF, the European Union and the European Central Bank youth unemployment tops 60 per cent.

In Britain and across the EU, health care, education and every other public service face the same EU demands for privatisation and opening to market forces which, of course, the Con Dem coalition is only too happy to oblige.

The proposed EU/US trade deal currently under negotiation also contains mechanisms to remove the ability of member states to decide what sectors, such as the NHS, should stay in the public sector and hands power to unaccountable tax avoiding corporations.

Collective bargaining rights are also being hollowed out by EU diktat and European court rulings which encourage social dumping and severely weakens trade union powers to defend workers.

Over 30,000 Belgian protesters marched through Brussels in June to oppose EU demands to abolish the country’s wage-setting mechanisms agreed with trades unions.

The Belgian government has already implemented harsh EU austerity measures but economic affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn announced that Belgium must conform by next year or face a 780 million Euro fine.

The EU catch-all phrase ‘free movement’ also hands bosses the ability to dictate the terms of employment through exploiting a reserve army of labour in the relentless pursuit of profit.

In this deal, where the scales are tilted so dramatically against workers, the question of what rights workers are entitled to scarcely enters the equation.

This is because the legal scope of the right to free movement for workers is shaped by EU courts and by directives and regulations outside the scope of democratically accountable bodies, such as national parliaments.

Decisions of the European Court of Justice in the Viking, Laval, Ruffert and Luxemburg ECJ cases also take us back over 100 years to the Taff Vale judgment when any trade union activity was perceived by the bosses to be ‘in restraint of trade’.

Global companies operating in EU states are free under EU law to tender for procurement building and service contracts in Britain and hire cheaper labour from abroad.

The workers can then be ‘posted’ to this country under terms and conditions established in the country of origin. These terms and conditions may be less than those negotiated on national or sector-wide agreements by trade unions.

The 1996 EU Posted Workers’ Directive says workers posted to a destination country need only be paid the minimum terms laid down in domestic legislation (such as the UK minimum wage), giving bosses the right to smash up nationally-agreed rates of pay.

‘Free movement’ within the EU impoverishes workers in a race to the bottom and creates a ‘brain drain’ in Eastern European countries, condemning them to a future of underdevelopment and decline.

European TUC general secretary Bernadette Ségol has noted that EU policies “are attacking industrial relations system, are putting pressure on wages, are weakening public services and weakening social protection…the core aspects of the social model”.

So in the Humpty Dumpty world of the EU ‘social Europe’ is really ‘anti-social Europe’.

The reality is that EU treaties are based on Thatcherite economics which ban large-scale public investment to stimulate demand so preventing even the possibility of full employment.

The EU-led attack on trade union rights has been most intense in countries receiving financial ‘bail outs’ which really only pay the debt owned by Europe’s largest banks rather than the country itself.

In Greece, Spain and Italy companies are now legally entitled to set worse terms of employment under the guise of EU demands to increase economic ‘competitiveness’.

The EU insists austerity will increase ‘competitiveness’. But as Greek bosses drive down wages dramatically there is no sign of economic improvement. In fact, these attacks have directly led to a weakening of the Greek economy.

Working people across Europe are sick and tired of the EU business model of fiscal fascism and polls in Britain show that voters want a referendum on EU membership. So why not give them a referendum?

The No2EU campaign will be standing in the 2014 Euro elections under the slogan ‘No2EU -Yes to Workers’ Rights’. The neoliberal Tory-boys of UKIP should not have a monopoly for opposing a corporate-dominated, anti-democratic EU whose policies they largely support.

The EU supports the privatisation of public transport, so does UKIP. UKIP opposes real workers’ rights, so does the EU.

Our movement created the basis for democracy in the 19th century with The Chartists and the demand for universal suffrage which is now being taken from us in the 21st century by the EU.

The only rational course is to leave the EU and rebuild Britain with socialist policies.