The Workers Union has asked the government to assure working people that its Brexit deal does not put their rights at risk.
In a statement issued this afternoon, chief spokesman Johnathan Morgan expressed his concern at the deal’s small print, arguing that it may cause ‘more harm than good in the medium to long term.’
Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted that the UK ‘won’t immediately send children up chimneys or pour raw sewage over its beaches.’ However, a report issued by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) suggested that the agreement may prove unenforceable on the issue of workers’ rights.
The EU and the UK have both agreed to support a “level playing-field” designed to ensure that Britain cannot “out-compete” its continental neighbours by watering down established environmental and employment standards. The IPPR claims that the bar for proof that the UK has broken the terms of this agreement is too high.
It also argues that any effects on trade and investment that specifically result from watering down protections are difficult to prove. This could mean that Mr Johnson’s deal is unlikely to stop the government from diluting workers’ rights if they wished to do so.
The UK left the European Union on the 1st of January.
The Workers Union on Workers’ Rights
The Workers Union policy team has spent much of the past few days scouring the Brexit deal. Firstly we must congratulate Mr Johnson and his team for securing an agreement rather than leaving us to crash out into unknown territory.
That notwithstanding, there are clear areas of concern that need to be addressed. There must be a robust commitment to ensuring that EU workers do not enjoy greater protections than their UK compatriots. Nobody voted to remove hard-won rights and that idea should be enshrined in the government’s post-Brexit contract with the people.
The mechanism that both sides have chosen to monitor alignment is the EU-UK Partnership Council. This body will review regulations on both sides of the channel and arbitrate when disputes arise. While it may be prove to be an effective means of compliance, the government should not require the threat of EU tariffs to continue to invest in protecting the rights of its workers. After all, sovereignty does not and should not mean the freedom to rip away vital support for working people.
The Workers Union – Britain’s hardest working union