From education to employment

TUC: We’re already at risk of falling behind the EU on workers’ rights

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady

Commenting on the one year anniversary of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“One year on since the UK-EU deal came into force, and we’re already at risk of falling behind our EU counterparts on rights in the workplace.

“While the EU is boosting rights for platform workers, our government is pursuing a review that threatens to water down employment protection and put hard-won rights on the line.  

“That wasn’t the promise the prime minister made to us. He said he would protect and enhance labour rights post-Brexit and make Britain the best place to work in the world.

“It’s time the prime minister lived up to his word and delivered an employment bill to upgrade workers’ rights and clamp down on exploitative work practices like zero-hours contracts and fire and rehire.”

Commenting on the ongoing Northern Ireland protocol discussions, O’Grady adds:

“Months of uncertainty over the Northern Ireland protocol have hit workers and businesses. It’s vital that the UK government urgently finds a pragmatic way through the current impasse and agrees a solution that protects jobs, livelihoods and peace.”

Commenting on the new paperwork and checks hitting goods coming into the UK, O’Grady said:

“And with goods coming into the UK facing new paperwork, we could see further supply chain chaos, potentially hitting jobs in affected sectors. Government must invest in the infrastructure and jobs we need now to prevent further disruption.”

Hard-won workers’ rights threatened by Lord Frost review, warns TUC

16th Dec 2021: The TUC has warned that hard-won rights are on the line in Lord Frost’s review of EU retained law.

Last week Brexit minister Lord Frost made a statement in Parliament on his proposed review to overhaul the “substance” and “status” of laws derived from the EU – many of which underpin important workers’ rights.

The TUC previously commissioned the legal help of Michael Ford QC to examine the rights at risk post-Brexit, including those strengthened by EU law. The rights include, among others:

  • Holiday pay
  • Equal pay for men and women
  • Parental leave
  • Equal treatment for part-time workers

Frost set out his intention to use an “accelerated process” to repeal retained EU law. The TUC says this could see some essential rights removed or watered down without proper parliamentary scrutiny.

The prime minister has promised to protect and enhance workers’ rights post-Brexit on numerous occasions.

In addition to the threat to rights posed by Lord Frost’s review, the TUC points to the EU Commission’s proposals to strengthen the rights of platform workers, which shows how the UK is already at risk of falling behind our European counterparts on workers’ rights less than a year into Brexit.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Important workers’ rights and legal principles are being put at real risk by Lord Frost’s determination to unpick hard won rights.

“Holiday pay, equal pay for men and women, parental leave and equal treatment for part-timers are just a few of the rights underpinned by retained EU law. These are not a nice-to-have – they are essential.

“What Lord Frost proposes could see these rights removed or watered down without proper scrutiny. It could make it harder for workers to enforce their rights in the court. And it could create chaos and confusion in the legal system.

“Boris Johnson promised to ‘protect and enhance’ workers’ rights after Brexit. Yet he has failed to bring forward his promised employment bill.

“It‘s time the prime minister stopped his empty promises and delivered the boost to workers’ rights he said he would.”

Related Articles