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Conservatives taking a “wrecking ball” to hard-won workers’ rights, warns TUC

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The Conservatives are set to take a wrecking ball to hard-won workers’ rights, the TUC has today warned (Wednesday), as the union body calls on the  government to drop the retained EU law bill before “lasting damage is done”.

The call comes as the bill returns to parliament for report stage.

The bill will automatically start the countdown for thousands of pieces of EU legislation currently transposed into UK law – including vital workplace rights such as holiday pay, rest breaks and health and safety rules protection from discrimination.

These and many other essential protections will disappear from the end of this year – unless Parliament passes new laws to retain them.

The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) – a group of independent experts brought together by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to examine the impact of regulation on business and civil society – branded the legislation “not fit for purpose”.

The body added that the government had failed to make a “sufficient case” for sunsetting workers’, environmental and consumer rights. 

Unions, business groups, environmental groups and civil society have all voiced their opposition to the bill.

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said:

“The Conservatives are about to take a wrecking ball to hard-won workers’ rights.

“This reckless bill puts at risk vital workplace protections – like holiday pay, safe working hours and protection from discrimination.

“These protections are all essential – not a nice to have. But without action, they will fall off the statute book by the end of 2023.

“That why unions, business, and environmental groups have all come out in opposition to this legislation.

“Even the government’s own independent experts have dubbed the bill not fit for purpose.

“Working people face a double whammy as ministers launch an assault on their right to strike and on their key workplace protections.

“The Conservatives do not have mandate to slash and burn people’s rights at work – they must drop this bill before lasting damage is done.”

Recent TUC polling revealed that seven in ten (71%) of voters support retaining EU-derived workers’ rights like holiday pay, safe limits on working times and rest breaks.

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