Theresa May’s Great Repeal Bill mustn’t use Henry VIII powers to ‘punch holes’ in workers’ rights

TUC demands clause in Bill to keep PM's promise to working class


Theresa May’s Great Repeal Bill must not use ‘antiquated Henry VIII powers’ to ‘punch holes’ in workers’ rights post-Brexit, said the Trades Union Congress (TUC), ahead of the government’s white paper on the Bill expected today.

Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, said the Prime Minister must keep her promise to protect workers’ rights, and not take advantage of the repeal of all UK laws entangled with EU legislation to betray working people.

On March 29 last year, May told parliament: ‘We will ensure that workers’ rights are fully protected and maintained. Indeed, under my leadership, the Government will not only protect the rights of workers but build on them.’

O’Grady uis calling for May to add a clause in the Bill to prevent ‘Henry VIII powers’, which allow the government to change primary legislation (government bills) using secondary legislation (orders through parliament without scrutiny), being used to water down or scrap rights and protections.

O’Grady said:

“The Great Repeal Bill is the Prime Minister’s chance to make good on her promise to fully protect and maintain all workers’ rights that come from the EU. 

These are rights we all rely on – like rules to guarantee safe workplaces, equal pay for women, protection from excessive working hours, and rights to equal treatment for agency workers.

The TUC will be watching closely to make sure that every workplace right that comes from the EU is protected – now and into the future.”

On the Bill, she said:

“To honour her repeated public promise to protect workers’ rights, the Prime Minister should put a clause in the Bill that ensures that her government can’t use antiquated Henry VIII powers to go back and punch holes in worker protections on the quiet, without parliamentary scrutiny.”

O’Grady also saod the PM ‘must also ensure protecting workers’ rights is at the heart of the UK’s future trade deal with the EU’, adding:

“The UK should sign up to a level playing field with our EU partners – not a race to the bottom on workplace rights.

We don’t want hardworking Brits to miss out on new rights that workers in other European nations get.” 

Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13 

See: It will take more than Theresa May’s warm words to guarantee a Brexit that works for working people

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