23 June: five key questions on the EU referendum

When you’re considering how to vote in the EU referendum later this month, here are five key points to have in mind

Key leave campaigners like to claim that EU ‘red tape’ is hampering the UK.

In many cases, what they mean is your rights at work. Indeed, leading leave campaigner Priti Patel MP let the cat out of the bag in May, when she told the Institute of Directors that she fancied scrapping “50% of the Working Time Directive”.

A whole host of UNISON members’ hard-won rights could be at risk – including their legal right to a minimum of 28 days paid annual leave, various health and safety regulations, TUPE protections and the legal right to at least a 20-minute break in every six-hour shift.


UNISON has been a critic of the secretive TTIP trade deal since it was first mooted.

Some people believe that a vote to leave the EU would keep our NHS and other public services safe from the dangers that TTIP and similar deals represent.

But it is the UK government’s ideological commitment to privatising the health service that is what threatens the NHS.

And a change of leadership of the Conservative Party if the UK voted to leave would most likely bring in someone like Boris Johnson, who has never been very forthright in defending the NHS from privatisation.


It’s a pretty fair estimate that leaving the EU would mean the UK economy taking a major hit – such is the fragile nature of the world of finance.

And that would almost certainly mean even less money for public services that are already stretched nearly to breaking – not by Brussels, but by our own government’s ideology.

Nor would it be quick and easy to arrange new trade deals – the likes of TTIP has shown that these things can take years.

The leave campaign has talked a lot about how, if we leave the EU, we’ll still be able to do trade with it by using deals like those enjoyed by Norway.

What they don’t say is that in order to enjoy those trading arrangements, Norway has to abide by various EU rules and laws – even though it has no input into deciding what those rules are.

In other words, if the UK were to leave the EU, it would make little difference on many things – except that we wouldn’t have a say in those things any more.

pigLeaving the EU would see the loss of all sorts of EU funding.

And that funding covers many areas, from helping to build nursery schools to cancer research – which would be detrimentally affected.

To find out more and download UNISON factsheets, visit unison.org.uk/euvote.