Alex Cunningham has highlighted new research by the TUC and Labour IN which argues that we risk jeopardising women’s rights if we vote to leave the EU on 23 June 2016.
The TUC report concluded that British membership of the European Union has been instrumental in empowering working women, and enabling them to challenge unequal pay and inequality at work.
EU law means British women now have a legal right to equal pay, paid maternity leave and the right to return to work without loss of position or pay. There are also guaranteed rights for part-time and flexible workers, with 6.2 million women working part-time in the UK. EU law also provides for a minimum maternity leave period for employees, as well as protection from gender-based discrimination and harassment.
New analysis by Labour IN shows that the gender pay gap for women in EU-OECD countries is more than four percentage points lower than for women living in non-EU countries within the OECD. That means that, in the course of working week, a woman in an EU-OECD country earns, on average, almost £170 closer to her male counterpart than a woman living in a wealthy country outside the EU.
“Equality between women and men is one of the European Union’s founding values, and it is because of our membership that British women can be sure of these rights. Leaving the EU would mean turning the clock back on women’s rights at work.”
TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “The UK’s membership of the EU has led to real and substantial gains in working women’s rights, and these are at risk if we vote to leave. That is why Britain’s biggest trade unions – representing over four million trade unionists – believe Britain is better off in Europe.”