Belfast Telegraph

Concerns over movement of labour 'behind loss of faith in EU project'

The "fatal attraction" of access to cheap labour offered by the expanded European Union has caused working people to break faith with the project, says the leader of Unite.

Len McCluskey warned that the concerns of workers that labour movement has hit jobs and pay can no longer be ignored.

He called for guaranteed safeguards on jobs, rights and wages to take precedent in the development of the UK's emerging immigration changes.

He will tell a conference in London of the Class thinktank: "There is no doubt that concerns about the impact of the free movement of Labour in Europe played a large part in the referendum result, particularly in working-class communities.

"It is those same communities - traditionally Labour-supporting - where the Labour Party is now struggling.

"As long ago as 2009, Unite's private surveys of membership opinion were showing that even then our members were more concerned about immigration than any other political issue, so we are past the point where working people can be convinced that the free movement of labour has worked for them, their families, their industries and their communities.

"That is why we need a new approach, to move away from talk of 'freedom of movement' on the one hand and 'controls' on the other and instead to speak of safeguards."