NIC-ICTU on Result of EU referendum

24 Jun 2016

ICTU Assistant General Secretary Peter Bunting, speaking after the result of the referendum on EU membership, said:

“The referendum is over and the cause we argued for has been defeated. The UK is at the exit door of the European Union.

“The only thing we can be sure of now is uncertainty, and that usually means economic volatility and shocks.

“Now it is the responsibility of those who pushed for this referendum and who made extraordinary pledges to improve the lives of the working class people who voted their way, to deliver on those promises.

“The politicians who led the Leave campaign, and their business backers, must now be held to account and made to honour their undertakings to increase spending on the NHS and other public services, and to prevent any trade deal with the US along the lines of TTIP, with its Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions which privilege the rights of Corporations over the UK’s citizens.

“As for Northern Ireland, there is a special responsibility on the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, even if she is promoted as a reward for her campaigning. Pledges have been made to preserve the free movement of people, goods and services across the border, that nothing will change and that those who raised concerns were scaremongering. Ms Villiers must prove the doubters wrong on the border, as she must on a series of policy matters, some devolved to the NI Executive, some not:

  • Will farmers continue to receive the same level of support?
  • Will community development programmes get the same or better funding?
  • Will the UK government continue to back politically contentious EU projects, such as those which support and re-integrate ex-prisoners?
  • Will the human rights provisions set up under the Good Friday Agreement be protected?   
  • What will happen to workers’ rights?

“We agree with our TUC colleague Frances O’Grady, when she said that ‘Working people must not pay the price for the decision to leave the EU’.

“The stability of our economy and our society depends upon clear and fast answers to these questions.”