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1 25/04/18 23:09

(Extracts from Frances O'Grady's statement on the Government's 'Brexit 'deal')

There’s an appetite in the Conservative Party for a bonfire of workers’ rights.

We’re talking about everyday protections that really matter to working people. Like paid holidays, rights for part-time workers, time off for working mums and dads, equal pay for women and limits on working hours.

These rights were won by trade unionists through the EU, and we’ve been clear that leaving the EU must not put them at risk.

And building on that, working people need a long-term, binding guarantee that rights in the UK will keep pace with those across Europe.

But the government’s deal doesn’t come close to meeting this test.

In both the proposals for the transition period and for our future relationship with the EU – and whether we end up with the backstop or a free trade agreement – our rights are under real threat.

First, while the Tory right is up in arms about a transition where they say everything will stay the same, the reality is that on employment rights UK workers will lose out. Under the government’s plans, new EU rights that come into force after the transition won’t apply to UK workers.

Second, after the transition, the rights of British workers look set to fall far behind those of workers across Europe. And it’s not clear how any agreement on rights between the EU and UK will be enforced.

Third, and worst of all, the only employment rights commitments that cover our future relationship with the EU are in the draft Political Declaration. Unfortunately, this section of the agreement is non-binding: it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

A future government of Tory Brexiteers could easily ignore its intention and try to negotiate a free trade agreement that undermines our hard-won workplace protections.