Labour Euro News
The attacks in Brussels this week have shocked us all. My thoughts are with everyone affected by these tragic events.
Thankfully, my team and I were safe within the Parliament and we managed to ensure that all of our staff were safe and accounted for. Security in Brussels and the European Parliament has been raised to the highest terror alert and of course we will respect and adhere to the official security advice.
In these difficult times we stand in solidarity with our friends in Belgium and people across Europe.
IN THE UK
EU Referendum Campaigning
Through street stalls, door knocking and leafleting, Labour Party members have been sharing the truth about the benefits of staying in the EU. Our last EU Referendum campaigning weekend was a great success and I was out with teams in Corby and Northampton.
Brexit campaigners continue to share myths on a daily basis and we need as many Labour activists out campaigning to protect workers' rights across the EU. Social Media will play a huge part in getting out the EU message and combating the myths. It would be great if you could help by sharing content from my Facebook page and Twitter (@GlenisWillmott) feed.
If you want to find out more about getting involved in the Labour In For Britain campaign, please contact Gail McDade at email@example.com or on 07734 77 00 04.
Recently, I met with Unite reps at the Toyota site in Burnaston to discuss work at the site and the upcoming EU Referendum. Toyota has said that they support the UK remaining in the EU. The Labour Party is campaigning to stay in the EU as we think it is best for British jobs and workers' rights. We'll continue to work with the trade unions to make sure that workers are put first in this debate.
Yet again the Tories have proven that workers' rights aren't at the top of their agenda. The use of zero-hours contracts has increased by 15%! Last year there were 1.7 million of these dreadful contracts in the UK - this is unacceptable!
Zero-hour contracts provide no security for British workers; how are you meant to get a mortgage with one of these contracts? With the UK Government refusing to tackle this issue, Labour MEPs have been calling for action at an EU level to prevent this abuse of workers.
The attacks in Brussels this week have shocked us all. My thoughts are with everyone affected by these tragic events. Thankfully, my team and I were safe within the Parliament... Read more
Every month, Labour MEPs debate the big issues and vote on new legislation and proposals in Strasbourg. This Strasbourg session has been another busy one for Labour MEPs. We've voted for a range of proposals, from new rules to help fight resistance to antibiotics to the use of EU funding to give schoolchildren free milk.
New proposals on posted workers' are welcome, but more needs to be done to close loopholes
Labour MEPs have welcomed proposals for pay equality between posted workers and locals, but we want more to be done to close loopholes and create a truly fair system.
The proposed changes would mean that workers from one EU country posted to work in another must be legally entitled the same pay as local host country workers, rather than only to the host country's minimum wage. Labour MEPs have long campaigned for this.
Labour MEPs vote against the EU Port Services Regulation
Labour MEPs have voted to reject the European Commission's third proposal for an EU Port Services Regulation because it contains few tangible benefits for the ports sector, its workers or the environment.
There have been widespread protests against the proposals by dock workers, as they offer very few benefits for workers. We were particularly concerned about provisions regarding the right to strike, which could have left trade unions open to additional legal challenges.
Labour MEPs back EU scheme that delivers milk for UK schoolchildren
Children across Europe will eat and drink more healthily thanks to a vote in the European Parliament on new legislation which will give EU countries the option to use EU funds to distribute fruit, vegetables and milk in schools.
Labour MEPs hope the changes will help promote healthy eating habits and local food.
Labour MEPs vote for EU ban on antibiotic use that hampers fight against antimicrobial resistance
Labour MEPs have voted to ban the routine use antibiotics on healthy animals to help fight antimicrobial resistance. We believe that these medicines should never be used as an alternative to maintaining good standards of animal welfare.
Labour MEPs are also strongly opposed to compromising public health in the interest of profits of industrial farming enterprises.
Tory and UKIP MEPs tried to block the new rules, but they were unsuccessful.
MEPs back Labour report calling for EU asylum policies to be more gender sensitive
The European Parliament voted for my Labour colleague, and MEP for London, Mary Honeyball's report calling for urgent action to ensure EU asylum policies protect vulnerable women and children.
Recommendations include childcare during screening and asylum interviews; trauma counselling for women who have experienced gender-based violence; legal assistance for women in reception centres; and an end to the detention of children, pregnant women and rape victims.
The vote took place on International Women's Day, and both UKIP and the Tories chose to vote against it.
Labour MEPs vote for new animal health law
Labour MEPs voted to support proposals to help EU countries tackle transmissible animal diseases, boost animal welfare levels and improve treatment of stray animals.
Conservative and UKIP MEPs voted against the proposal, and yet again failed to stand up for animal welfare. Luckily they were once again unsuccessful in blocking progressive legislation.
Labour MEP for the East Midlands
Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party
To keep up to date with my work in the European Parliament and across the East Midlands:
Go to my website www.gleniswillmott.eu,
Follow me on twitter @GlenisWillmott
Like my Facebook page www.facebook.com/gleniswillmottmep
Every month, Labour MEPs debate the big issues and vote on new legislation and proposals in Strasbourg. This Strasbourg session has been another busy one for Labour MEPs. We've voted...
Every month, Labour MEPs debate the big issues and vote on new legislation and proposals in Strasbourg. This Strasbourg session has been another busy one for Labour MEPs. We've voted on a range of issues, from cutting the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to cutting the amount of sugar in baby food. I also spoke in a debate about the European Council meeting in December, reminding everyone that the EU referendum should be about the jobs and rights of working people, not David Cameron.
Labour MEPs vote for new law to make gas appliances safer by cutting risk of deadly poisoning
Labour MEPs voted for a new EU regulation that will raise safety standards for boilers, gas cookers, ovens, barbecues and patio heaters. The new rules aim to prevent fatal gas poisoning, including deadly carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Labour MEPs have long campaigned for EU-wide action on carbon monoxide safety, including calling for tougher regulation of CO-emitting boilers in hotels and holiday villas, so we were very glad to vote for tougher rules.
Labour MEPs demand Commission rethink sugar free-for-all
Last Wednesday, Labour MEPs voted to limit the amount of sugar in baby food. The World Health Organisation recommends that baby food should contain less than 10%, so we didn't think the European Commission limit of 30% was strong enough. Given that one in three 11 year olds in Europe are overweight or obese, and giving young children sweet foods makes them more likely to choose unhealthy food in the future, limiting sugar in baby food should be an obvious step.
Labour MEPs urge Tories to do more than just talk and take action to solve steel crisis:
Labour MEPs reiterated our calls for the government to urgently step in and take action to save the steel sector, following the news of a further 1,000 job losses this week. Labour MEPs have long been pressing the European Commission and UK ministers to act, but we were disappointed to see Tory MEPs recently vote against a report that recommends a level playing field for the steel industry throughout Europe and proposes limiting the dumping of cheap Chinese steel.
My speech: the EU referendum should be about the jobs and rights our membership bring for working people
I spoke in the plenary chamber on the referendum last week to remind everyone that this referendum is about protecting the rights of working people - we shouldn't be distracted by political spin. You can watch my speech on youtube.
Keep up to date with my work in the European Parliament and across the East Midlands by liking my Facebook page.
Every month, Labour MEPs debate the big issues and vote on new legislation and proposals in Strasbourg. This Strasbourg session has been another busy one for Labour MEPs. We've...
November and December have flown by with lots happening in the European Parliament and the East Midlands. Here's a quick summary of what I've been working on and what's ahead.
IN THE UK
National Launch of the “Labour IN for Britain” Campaign
The National Launch of Labour’s campaign to remain in the EU took place in December. This was a fantastic event led by Alan Johnson MP a great spokesperson for the campaign. Watch out for news on our East Midlands Regional launch which will take place in the New Year.
I’m working closely with Alan and the Labour Party and will be holding a number of meetings and campaign events over the coming months; I hope to see you all there. If you’d like to get involved with Labour’s campaign to remain in the EU, please contact Gail McDade firstname.lastname@example.org
With well over 100 Labour Party Members in attendance, this year's European Forum was the biggest ever. We were delighted to host Alan Johnson MP at Nottingham Trent University, who took advantage of Nottingham's EU funded tram network to get to the venue! Party members took part in Q&A sessions with a host of politicians and trade unionists including Lilian Greenwood MP, Cllr Rory Palmer, Cllr Tom Beattie, Cllr Heather Worman and Richard Oliver from the GMB.
Health and Safety Strategy
Labour members will be aware that it’s thanks to the EU that employees in the UK are protected to such a high standard. And thank goodness, since the Tories voted against the EU Parliament's recent strategy to improve these measures. I dread to think what would happen if the Tories were solely responsible for health and safety here in the UK!
Thankfully, the strategy passed in the European Parliament and I was pleased that my proposals, including those on training, tackling diseases and cancers caused by asbestos and protection for whistle-blowers, were all supported.
What have the Tories supported?
Not a lot.
- opposed recommendations aimed at tackling tax avoidance/evasion
- voted against the EU taking action to tackle child poverty
- voted against stronger laws to eliminate violence against women
Labour MEPs have been calling for urgent EU measures help workers affected by the steel crisis. This includes taking strong action against China for steel dumping – selling steel at uneconomic prices. However, the UK Government continues to block this EU action.
- I have raised my concerns with UK Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, who needs to take immediate action.
- We are also urging the UK Government to apply for a £5 million EU fund that could be used to help communities affected by the closures of the steelworks.
- This week I'll welcome UK steelworkers to Strasbourg to campaign alongside them and trade unions to call for urgent help from the EU.
I’ve long been calling for Raif Badawi's release, a campaigner who promotes religious freedom in Saudi Arabia. Raif has been sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison. He has already suffered torture at the hands of Saudi authorities, despite calls from across Europe and the world for his release.
I nominated Raif for this year's Sakharov prize; the annual prize from the European Parliament for the defence of freedom of thought and human rights. I’m delighted he has won this prize, as this will continue to put international pressure on the Saudi authorities. I hope that he is released soon and will be able to come to the European Parliament to receive his award in person in the near future.
I recently welcomed some Derby Rolls-Royce representatives back to the European Parliament. I have been working with trade unions and Rolls-Royce to stress the importance of the company for local jobs, jobs which we need to keep in the East Midlands.
We discussed EU funding and the future of the aerospace sector with experts in the EU. The aerospace sector continues to grow; and with 1 in 11 jobs in Derby dependent on Rolls-Royce I will continue to work to keep these highly-skilled jobs in the region.
Anti-fur farming event
I was delighted to see Mark Glover, a local Labour councillor, in Strasbourg last month. Mark was taking part in a panel, organised by the Animal Welfare Intergroup, calling for the end of fur farming. Animal welfare is a key issue and we must ensure that it is respected across Europe.
I'd like to thank Paddy Casswell in the Attenborough office, who is retiring at Christmas, for all of his hard work and dedication over the years.
My thanks also to all my staff: Kelly and Gail in the UK, and Emily, Elspeth and Bridie in my Brussels office.
. . AND FINALLY . .
Those in the know about social media have told me that I should have a page on Facebook so I have one! It would be fantastic if you could give the page a “like”. The address is www.facebook.com/gleniswillmottmep
If there’s anything in this report you’d like further information about, please contact my office at email@example.com or on 0115 922 9717.
My best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to you and your family.
Winter 2015 November and December have flown by with lots happening in the European Parliament and the East Midlands. Here's a quick summary of what I've been working on and...