Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Fears grow over the protection of worker’s rights after Brexit

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady meets with opposition leaders at 'Brexit summit'.

The TUC’s General Secretary Frances O’Grady met with opposition leaders today to discuss concerns over the impact of Brexit on workers’ rights.

Frances O’Grady met with the Westminster leaders of the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party to discuss the trade union’s position on Brexit.

The TUC shares the view of the opposition leaders that maintaining membership of the single market and access to the customs union should be on the table for the next phase of Brexit negotiations, as it offers the best set of circumstances to protect jobs when the UK leaves the European Union.

The TUC has launched a campaign putting pressure on Theresa May to protect the Working Time Directive – the EU legislation which safeguards the rights of more than 7 million workers to paid holidays, breaks and working hours.

The party leaders and Frances O’Grady have agreed to keep an open dialogue on these issues as Brexit negotiations continue.

The cross-party summit has today invited Michel Barnier, European Chief Negotiator for Brexit, to meet with them at a future meeting.

SNP Westminster Leader, Ian Blackford MP, said: “We were delighted to be joined by Frances O’Grady today and it was clear there was consensus across the group that protecting jobs and workers’ rights was a key priority as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

“We have written to Michel Barnier to invite him to meet with us to discuss the realities of a UK leaving the EU and how we can continue our work to ensure the UK remains firmly in the single market and customs union.”

Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable MP, said: “Frances O’Grady reminded us that the majority of workers voted to remain in the European Union. It’s their pockets that will be hit by the Conservatives’ needless red lines.

“The Lib Dems are looking forward to joining the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and the Greens in Brussels to remind our neighbours that there are still people in the UK fighting to keep us in the Single Market, the Customs Union, and the EU.”

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP said: “Hearing from the TUC on the importance of the Single Market and Customs Union to protecting people’s wages, rights and benefits in work was valuable and it was encouraging to see the four parties work together with the trade union movement on this crucial campaign, and that the voice of workers can be heard.

“It’s important that we discuss these matters with the European Commission itself and I look forward to welcoming Michel Barnier to the group.”

Green Party Co-Leader, Caroline Lucas MP, said: “It was good to meet with France O’Grady today, and re-state our shared insistence that workers’ rights are protected in the Brexit process.

“We know that an extreme Brexit puts our hard won rights at work at risk – and it’s good to see the trade unions and political parties working together to avert a workers’ rights catastrophe.”

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