Letter: The left backs the right to work

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The Independent Online
Sir: Jacques Delors has put forward a perfectly practical plan to create 15 million new jobs in Europe before the end of the century. Why is this being opposed and undermined by government in Britain? Who has asked the unemployed whether they agree to continue to suffer in silence?

We as Labour MEPs think the time has come to pack a political punch behind the job creation programme that is needed. We know how to create jobs, and we know where they are needed. What is lacking is the political resolution to take the necessary action. That is why we think it is necessary to create a European Parliament of the Unemployed and Socially Excluded, following in the footsteps of the very successful Parliament of Pensioners, and of Disabled People. The Parliament of the Unemployed would do three things.

First, it would enable the unemployed to learn from one another, and improve the organisations which represent them. The best ideas and practices could be copied from the leading countries to the more backward ones.

Second, the unemployed people in each country could draw strength by networking in organisations which would campaign for them, not only at home, but all across Europe. We need an enormous increase in regional funds to attack unemployment. We should be campaigning for it jointly, so that each would be of assistance to all. By networking, people will quickly learn that they share the same problems, in Germany or in Britain, in Portugal or in Greece. Third, the Unemployed Parliament would give all those who are now neglected a voice, which would have to be heard. At the moment, unemployment in Britain is 4 million people suffering separately, in silence, ignored. That is the only way such a desperate injustice can be accepted in the rest of society.

The work that we do is the first reality of our freedom, and those who confiscate it are confiscating our most essential rights. Let's get together, unemployed people with those who still have jobs, and begin to create the real democracy which can restore the most basic of all rights: the right to work.

Yours sincerely,

KEN COATES, RICHARD BALFE, JOHN BIRD, DAVID BOWE, KEN COLLINS, PETER CRAMPTON, CHRISTINE CRAWLEY, ALAN DONNELLY, MICHAEL ELLIOTT, GLYN FORD, PAULINE GREEN, LYNDON HARRISON, STEPHEN HUGHES, ALF LOMAS, HENRY McCUBBIN, MICHAEL McGOWAN, HUGH McMAHON, DAVID MARTIN, TOM MEGAHY, DAVID MORRIS, STAN NEWENS, CHRISTINE ODDY, ANITA POLLACK, BARRY SEAL, BRIAN SIMPSON, ALEX SMITH, KEN STEWART, GARY TITLEY, JOHN TOMLINSON, CAROLE TONGUE, IAN WHITE, JOE WILSON, TERRY WYNN (members of the European Parliamentary Labour Party), JOHN HUME (Social Democratic and Labour Party)

Strasbourg

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