From the TUC

If Remain want our votes they have to make it personal

15 Mar 2016, by in International

An article in today’s Telegraph should act as a spur to everyone in the Remain camp. Lynton Crosby – The Wizard of Oz – has been looking behind the poll numbers to gauge the motivation of supporters of Leave and Remain to go out and vote. The results which point to a possible Brexit, are not promising for fans of statutory paid holiday entitlement, equal treatment for part-time workers and work-life balance rights.

While the country is roughly evenly divided between Leave (49%) and Remain (47%), when motivation to go out and vote is factored in, Leave leaps ahead. Seventy-nine per cent of Leave supporters said they would be certain to vote if the referendum were held today. Only 72% of Remain voters said the same. Factoring in motivation gives the Leave campaign a seven point lead over Remain (52% versus 45%).

Crosby examined the factors driving voters’ decisions. Over one third of Leave voters are driven by a concern over immigration (37%), and a little under a third of Remain voters are worried about the economic consequences of Brexit (31%). So far, it feels like both sides are talking to the roughly a third of their supporters whose decision hangs on immigration or GDP.

Regardless of their instinctive preference, voters do not feel they have enough information to make a decision, 48%of all voters express this concern. The stats imply that there is a sizeable middle-ground of undecideds and soft supporters who will be swung decisively one way or another by the side that gives them a convincing case and provides the facts to back it up.

The referendum is about much more than simply whether GDP, or net migration, goes up or down on the y axis. Membership of the EU guarantees rights and benefits to working people in the UK that would be called into question should we exit. Legislation unions have won from Europe ensures that part-time workers receive the same pro-rata pay and conditions as those on full-time contracts. It ensures that workers get a minimum level of paid holiday each year and has helped curb the long-hours culture that, although still a problem in the UK, might get even worse if the working time regulations were repealed.

In the coming weeks the TUC will be campaigning to ensure these issues feature in the debate. When the decision is taken on the 23rd of June, it must not be simply on the basis of immigration or the economic bottom line.

5 Responses to If Remain want our votes they have to make it personal

  1. John
    Mar 16th 2016, 2:02 am

    Thankyou for this article Kam Gill. As a UK citizen who permanently lives abroad, do you know if I shall I be able to vote on this quite serious issue for the future of the UK & Europe?

  2. John Wood

    John Wood
    Mar 16th 2016, 7:32 am

    Hi John. It all depends on how long you’ve been away. Less than 15 years and you can register as an overseas voter http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/register-to-vote/british-citizens-living-abroad

    I believe the government will be extending this to votes for life at some point, but not soon enough for the referendum.

  3. John
    Mar 18th 2016, 12:17 am

    Thankyou for this link John; much appreciated. Saludos.

  4. Alan Beackon
    Mar 19th 2016, 11:02 am

    British trade unionists and the British people are fighting two masters, The European Union and The British Government.

    I don’t agree that Europe won us Equal Rights for women, the women at Dagenham Motors did that.

    When we leave Europe Trade Unions will only have to fight The British Government if Bosses don’t want to be fair with their workers.

    By us leaving Europe it will stop the silly blame game that’s going on, so that only our Prime Minister is accountable.

    Trade Unions (or at least some) are worried about us losing trade if leave Europe.
    Lets take a quick look at that then: the coal mines PM Thatcher destroyed that, with not a word from Europe, The British Steel Industry where this present Government is allowing it to go, and not word from Europe. The Trade Union Bill that is going through parliament now, again nothing from Europe.

    Lets get out and encourage other Country’s to do the same.

  5. Kam Gill

    Kam Gill
    Mar 21st 2016, 4:42 pm

    Hello Alan,

    Thanks for your comment. I agree, that a lot of vital rights came from hard work by unions. However, i still feel that membership of the EU in its various guises has provided protections and benefits for workers. Equal pay came as a result of the campaign in Dagenham, but it was implemented in anticipation of Britain’s membership of the EEC, while i have no wish to detract from the importance of the campaign, I think it’s also important to remember the political context (see Frances’ article on Friday for more on this: http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2016/03/sticking-union-eu-referendum-matters-working-britons/).

    Perhaps the key issue is what the prospects for working people would be outside of the EU, for all it’s faults I think those prospects would be worse if we left. Without the legislative mechanisms currently in place in Europe I think it’s likely that the Government’s attack on working rights and conditions would be extended.