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Protect Workers Rights - Reject the Lisbon Treaty

22 April, 2008

Mary Lou McDonald MEP today outlined the importance of workers’ rights in the referendum debate saying "the way in which the existing treaties are being used to undermine workers rights is a scandal".

McDonald said:

"The way in which the existing treaties are being used to undermine workers rights is a scandal. The European Court of Justice stated that its judgement on the Rüffert case is in keeping with the provisions of the existing Treaties. The Lisbon Treaty will do nothing to improve this situation.

"Protection of vulnerable workers throughout the European Union should have been secured in the negotiations on the Treaty. It was not. This judgement is yet another in a long litany of reasons why this Treaty should be rejected. The direction that the Treaty wants to take Europe is one which fundamentally undermines the values of Europe’s social model.

"In Ireland we have known since Irish Ferries and before that the pre-eminence of the internal market over all other considerations in the EU was leading to situations where workers rights are being undermined, with workers in similar employment on different pay and conditions.

"Whilst I support the spirit of the European Trade Union Confederation call for a social progress clause to be inserted into the Treaty I am of the firm belief that the only way to secure workers rights into the future is to reject this Treaty and send member states back to the negotiating table.

“A new Treaty could firmly establish that fundamental rights, especially the right to strike and the right of workers and their representatives to take collective action to improve their working and living conditions beyond minimum standards, would take precedence over the internal market. By rejecting this Treaty Ireland can reopen the debate about the future of Europe and allow member states secure a better deal for Europe.”

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