Busting the “EU defends our right” myth – UK Labour law that predates EU law


EU anti-worker laws are best summed up by the Posted Workers’ Directive (PWD) – allows for foreign companies to undercut collectively bargained pay rates.

(PWD) – in the CJEU Laval case the Court held that industrial action by Swedish unions to enforce collective agreements on a Latvian contractor was a breach of the contractors ‘freedom’ under the EU Treaty to provide services.

Easiest example to cite is the East Lindsey Dispute where an Italian company undercut the National Agreement for the Electrical Construction Industry and employed only foreign Italian labour to build a de-sulpherisation facility at the plant. This is also a problem of the legality and applicability of collective bargaining agreements in the UK.


-The right to a written contract of employment

-Sex, Race, Disability and Marital Status discrimination

-Equal pay (although EU law improved it to cover equal pay for work of equal value which allowed challenges to the undervaluation of women’s work).

-Maternity leave.

-Annual leave. (And UK allowance more generous than EU)

-The right not to be unfairly dismissed. (As bad as it is, it doesn’t exist in EU law).

-The right to strike.

-National Minimum Wage. (As paltry as it is).

-Health and Safety laws. (90% of prosecutions achieved through 1974 parliament H&S Act)

-Trade union victimisation laws.

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