Unions warn of ‘cloud cuckoo land’ over EU exit

Local trade unions have backed staying in the EU

Local trade unions have backed staying in the EU

The umbrella organisation representing Northern Irish unions has decided to back remaining in the EU.

The Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), which represents an estimated 215,000 members including those in NIPSA, Unite and Unison, made the decision during a monthly meeting.

The EU debate rages on

The EU debate rages on

A spokesman said all 20 members endorsed a statement which was circulated to the press.

In it, the ICTU said that it was concerned with the austerity and deregulation measures which it had seen across the continent, adding: “However, we will not win by walking away.”

The Great Britain-based Trades Union Congress had warned that workers’ rights could be threatened by an exit.

Its general secretary Frances O’Grady had been quoted by ITV as saying: “Leaving the EU would risk lots of the rights at work we all rely on – like paid holidays and breaks, parental leave, health and safety, and equal treatment for part-time workers.”

The ICTU said if anyone believed the Westminister government would match the level of funding now received by Northern Ireland via the EU, they were “living in cloud cuckoo land”.

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