The Workers Union has scored another significant victory, after Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed that the government has junked its review of workers’ rights.
The announcement came on ITV’s Peston show, where Mr Kwarteng said: ‘So the workers rights review is no longer happening within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. I made it very very clear to officials in the department that we’re not interested in watering down workers’ rights.’
The government has long maintained that Brexit was an opportunity to secure higher standards of protection for British workers rights. That position was called into question only last week by us when Kwarteng was forced to deny that his department were planning to amend the Working Time Directive and rip up rest break rules.
The apparent volte-face will be seen by many as an unwillingness to challenge the working arrangement with the EU. Under the terms of the Brexit deal, the UK is not allowed to water down the rights of working people without risking action from the EU.
The Workers Union on the Review of Workers’ Rights
We’re pleased that common sense and basic decency has prevailed. The review was an unnecessary dead end that was in danger of saying more about the Tories’ attitude working people than it was about existing EU legislation.
The fact is that there are more important matters to concern the government. With COVID lighting a jobs bonfire and many thousands of people battling insecure work, ‘look what we can do’ posturing is entirely inappropriate.
This government needs to train its focus on extending the furlough scheme, smashing the spread of low-paid, low quality work and ensuring that everyone can access decent sick pay.
Because let’s be clear about this: If Brexit is to be an enterprise that delivers a working dividend, it must go hand in hand with policies that raise standards and create jobs, wealth and opportunity. Without this commitment, many people will conclude that they were sold a wheezing banger rather than the sleek Ferrari they were promised.
The Workers Union – Fighting for Social Justice, Fighting for You