The Workers Union is asking Boris Johnson for clarity on the issue of workers’ rights.
The news comes as the government launches a final bid to secure a trade deal with the European Union.
In the last 24-hours, the rhetoric coming from both sides suggests that significant stumbling blocks remain to be negotiated. While Boris Johnson has described Britain leaving on World Trade Organisation terms as a potentially ‘wonderful’ outcome, Italy’s prime minister, Guiseppe Conte, took a hardline stance. In a statement designed to reinforce solidarity amongst his European partners, Mr Conte said the bloc should make preparations for a ‘hard Brexit.’
Why Can’t Britain and the EU Reach an Agreement?
The main area of contention is the “regulatory alignment” between Britain and the EU. In simple terms, the British government wants to be able to set its own standards once the country leaves the bloc. Politicians on the EU side are concerned that this will make it easy for Britain to ‘out-compete’ her European neighbours when the transition arrangements end on the 31st of December. For that reason, they have made a “lockstep deal” the price of tariff-free access to European markets.
How Might This Affect Workers’ Rights?
If the country leaves the EU without a deal, there will be nothing constraining this – and successive – governments – from diluting protections enshrined in EU law. The government’s current position is that existing laws governing workers’ rights will be transferred to UK law; however this does not exclude them from review in the future.
The Workers Union On Workers’ Rights
At the same time as negotiators in Brussels try to balance the political equations, British workers are nervously looking at their own figures. This organisation alone has received hundreds of queries from people worried about changes to pay, conditions and working hours in the aftermath of Brexit.
Their concerns cannot be ignored in the stampede to break free of Brussels.
If a deal with the EU cannot be reached, The Workers Union is very clear that the government must not use ‘sovereignty’ as an excuse to erode workers’ rights. Rather, Westminster must grasp the historic opportunity to build on current levels of protection. This is as crucial a point as any of the “Britannia Unchained” arguments advanced for Brexit. For while many pro-Brexit politicos mix sovereign decision making with romantic notions of nationhood, working people want – and expect – their government to offer them a chance for a better life.
That is why people voted to leave the EU, and that is what they should be given.
The Workers Union – Leading from the front in the fight for Workers’ Rights