TSSA conference votes against Brexit, for public vote on any deal

Sienna Rodgers

Delegates at the annual conference of transport union TSSA yesterday overwhelmingly voted against Brexit, describing the project as a “victory for the xenophobic and nationalist right”.

Approving a statement from the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association executive committee, the union reiterated its support for “final say on any Brexit deal agreed by parliament”.

At its conference last year, TSSA became the first Labour-affiliated trade union to back another referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. It was soon joined in its support for a public vote by GMB and Community, and more recently by Unison.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes, who has been supportive of Jeremy Corbyn but critical of Labour’s Brexit position, said: “I’m delighted our union has again made it clear we stand strongly against Brexit. It is nothing more than a mad Tory creation, which poses a clear and present economic danger the working people of this country.

“The only people who would benefit from Brexit are those with money to burn and zealots like Nigel Farage. It would amount to a victory for the xenophobic and nationalist right and set the UK back many decades.”

Below is the full statement from the TSSA executive committee, which was debated and approved at the union’s conference on Sunday 9th June. 

The real division in our society is not between those who voted Leave and Remain but, as ever, between the many and the few. We are immensely proud that our party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, wants to build a Britain in which no-one is left behind.

Sadly, Brexit is poisoning politics and stopping us from addressing the key issues that matter to our people. We urgently need a general election to deliver a radical Labour government.

However, even if Britain leaves the EU, Brexit does not end. Instead, we face years of negotiations with our European partners to disentangle over 45 years of joint policy making in many areas and with other countries, over trade deals which will further deregulate our economy in the interests of capital.

The Brexit squeeze is not worth the juice as Britain remains a capitalist country within a capitalist world. Brexit in our country is led by right-wing, free-market, fundamentalists.

Sadly, Brexit has also been a victory for the xenophobia of the nationalist right and poses a real threat to our worker rights, our jobs, our NHS, our public services, our food standards and our fight against climate change.

The far-right are all about hate and the politics of despair, neither of which has been far removed from the debate on Brexit. Our Labour and trade union movement can and will bring our country back together with hope and solidarity.

We must rebuild our communities with investment, end austerity, properly fund our public services, expand public ownership, boost wages, increase living standards and union rights, end child poverty and homelessness and challenge the narratives of the nationalist right.

As Internationalists, we once again commit ourselves to always challenge the far-right and their hate-filled politics. We reiterate our policy that the British public must have the final say on any Brexit deal agreed by parliament and our party must now leave no stone unturned to stop a new Tory Prime Minister from delivering a no-deal exit.

We strongly condemn those Tories who are playing with fire by advocating a Brexit which undermines the Good Friday Agreement. There must be no return to a hard-border in Ireland.

Our executive committee will campaign for a Europe-wide Green New Deal as part of a global initiative to deal with our climate emergency. They will continue our fight to democratise European institutions, to end Fortress Europe, for the creation of a Europe for the many not the few and will advocate putting in place an international strategy to deal with tax evasion and to ensure that the super-rich and the corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

Our union will campaign for all the objectives contained within this statement and all of our policies on Brexit within our party and our wider movement. Another Britain within another Europe as part of a Socialist world is what we seek.

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