From education to employment

TUC demands assurances hard-won workers’ rights are not on the line in government’s “reckless” post-Brexit plans

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady

The TUC has today (Monday) demanded that hard-won workers’ rights will be protected after reports emerged suggesting that the government is drawing up a list comprising over 1,000 EU-derived regulations to be ripped up.

The TUC says it received a letter from the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng in February 2022 which promised that “there is no government plan to reduce workers’ rights”, after the union body had called for guarantees following the start of a review into EU-retained law.

The union body is calling for fresh assurances in the wake of the new reports.

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

The reports suggest that the bill will “fast-track” repealing regulations. 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 “essential” workplace rights, 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 a year into Brexit.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Important workers’ rights and legal principles are being put at real risk by the government’s reckless plans.

“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 the government proposes could see these rights removed or watered down without proper scrutiny.

“Boris Johnson promised to ‘protect and enhance’ workers’ rights after Brexit. Yet he has failed to bring forward his promised employment bill – and now the UK risks going backwards on workers’ rights.

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

Related Articles