BMW Workers launched their In Campaign this morning in front of a packed meeting of shop stewards at the Cowley Plant in Oxford.
Andrew Smith MP and Anneliese Dodds MEP addressed the meeting of 60 Unite Union shop stewards, setting out the case for staying in the EU before taking questions from the crowd.
Speaking after the meeting, Anneliese Dodds MEP explained the value of staying in:
“EU membership is essential for industry here in Oxford, not least the mini production plant, because it means Oxford-made products can be easily traded across a union of 500 million consumers. That trade must be fair as well as free, which is why our social rights from the EU are so important; rights to protect agency and temporary workers, and for all of us to work in safe places free from discrimination, and with guaranteed holidays. I'm delighted that the BMW unite branch has already started the referendum discussion with its members.”
Andrew Smith MP added:
“It was a really good meeting with trade unionists at the Cowley MINI plant, with a thorough discussion of the big issues at stake in the referendum. We agreed it was really important to get accurate information in people’s hands about the importance of EU membership for jobs and workers’ rights, and just how crucial it is for people to use their vote.”
Following speeches from Anneliese and Andrew, the pair then took questions from the Unite members on a variety of subjects surrounding the referendum such as Cameron’s EU renegotiation deal, foreign affairs and the EU, and the importance of Britain’s access to the single market.
The Unite Union has said that it favours remaining in Europe as it sees that rights given to workers that are protected by the European Union as under threat from the UK Government in the event of a BREXIT.
BMW has already publically talked about the benefits of remaining in the EU, with Torsten Muller-Otvos, chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, saying last week:
“For BMW Group, more than half of MINIs built and virtually all the engines and components made in the UK are exported to the EU, with over 150,000 new cars and many hundreds of thousands of parts imported from Europe each year.
“Tariff barriers would mean higher costs and higher prices and we cannot assume that the UK would be granted free trade with Europe from outside the EU.”