Employment Rights And Health & Safety At Work Not Guaranteed After Leaving The EU
From the very start of the EU Referendum campaign, the question of worker’s rights after Brexit was fundamental in the minds of workers, Trade Unions and many Labour MPs.
Whilst the usual response from any Brexit supporter since then has been to claim that anyone opposing them with facts; are merely ‘scaremongering’ and part of ‘project fear’!
In the three years that have passed, the picture of the country called ‘Independent UK’ and a ‘World leader in Trade’; is finally being painted and it looks nothing like the above titles suggest.
Once again, worker’s rights are back in the headlines with the TUC’s response to Theresa May who has been hijacked by the Tory Right wing extremist group, the European Research Group (ERG), being entirely dismissive of promises that have no more weight than the paper they are written on.
All rationality and researching the facts have gone out of the window, it seems, as people still hang on to the lies and distortions they were fed during the EU Referendum campaign.
But even more alarming is the stance from Trade Unions such as the CWU and Unite, who having not even asked their membership for their opinion on Brexit since 2016; stand against a ‘people’s vote’. With even the Labour Party membership by a huge 72% wanting to now stay in the EU according to recent polling, is it not time that ALL Trade Unions asked their membership for their view, before making further announcements of opposing any ‘people’s vote’?
Clearly the TUC have no trust in the Tory Government with their paper claims of caring for worker’s rights, and yet it seems that TU leaders are lagging well, behind in their silence on the issue.
Following May’s empty words of promising to protect worker’s rights after we leave the EU, and the lack of any legislation to do so; Frances O’Grady, the TUC's General Secretary made this unambiguous statement in a press release issued today:
““The prime minister has made a mockery of her own claim that Britain is leading the way on workers’ rights.
These are flimsy procedural tweaks. They come nowhere close to ensuring existing rights are protected. And they won’t stop workers’ rights in the UK from falling behind those in the rest of Europe.”
She added, as if in an echo of this website’s stance from the beginning of the Brexit debate:
“What’s more, there’s nothing to stop a future right-wing government tearing up this legislation altogether.
Sadly that cannot be said of All Labour’s MPs, with Kate Hoey and Caroline Flint making their objections to anything other than leaving the EU and placing worker’s rights to the hostage of fortune that Trade Deals with the USA, and future Tory Government’s hatred of worker’s rights; not to mention the current Tory leadership!
The TUC has consistently called for a long-term, legally binding guarantee for workers’ rights to be written into the Withdrawal Agreement, and argued that the best way to protect workers’ rights is to stick with Single Market and Customs Union rules.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.
Despite a protracted review looking at exploitation in the gig economy (and other areas), the government still won’t even ban the use of zero hours contracts.
This made access to justice through a tribunal unaffordable for thousands of low paid workers (and was only overturned when Unison proved in court that the government had acted illegally).
This change to the law made 2.7m workers more vulnerable to being sacked for no good reason.
For example, the government changed employment tribunal procedures so that employees lost the right to gather information from their employer about possible discrimination.
And even when unions have succeeded in winning rights for workers, it’s often been in the teeth of Tory opposition.
We also know that some senior Conservatives – who might be jostling for the top job in the future – have been clear that they want to use Britain’s exit from the EU to roll back these rights, not improve them.
Without substantial changes to Mrs May's entire deal, working people’s rights remain at high risk.
So in order to ensure there is no dubiety, here is just a basic list of ‘worker’s rights’ that are under threat once we leave the ‘underpinning’ that the EU provides in the form EU Directives that have been subsumed into UK legislation:
1 Health & Safety at Work: the EU ‘six pack’ legislation – manual handling, display screen equipment, rest breaks, working hours, and the management of H&S in the workplace; to name but a few.
‘Of the many tenets of parliamentary sovereignty cast aside in the Brexiters’ supposed campaign for parliamentary sovereignty, perhaps the most important is that a parliament cannot be beholden to its predecessors. To suggest otherwise is to deny parliament the power to create or abolish laws. Any kind of lip service to a “non-regression lock” is either a misleading falsehood or a sincere attempt to destroy parliamentary democracy. For now, we’ll credit the prime minister with the former intention.’
In other words, worker's rights are a mere hostage to the fortune of the type of Government the country elects and any future trade deals with the USA which will require compatibility with American labour laws and business culture.
Source: TUC / The Independent / unionsafety
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