Will workers’ rights be ‘ripped up’ post-Brexit?

Currently, the EU has in place a number of regulations, which we could assume would be lost if the draft document rings true.

MPs have warned that workers’ rights and regulations will be “ripped up” post-Brexit as a leaked draft document from the Brexit department indicated that the UK will move away from the EU on key regulations.

The document, which was seen by the Financial Times, stated that there was “room for interpretation” over workers’ rights, and that it was likely that “commitments will be very different”.

The document contradicts the line that the Tories have been following – as the party consistently pledged to protect workers’ rights and “maintain” a level playing field with the EU.

Jenny Chapman, Labour’s shadow Brexit minister, said that the documents “confirmed our worst fears”.

Boris Johnson’s Brexit is a blueprint for a deregulated economy, which will see vital rights and protections torn up,” she told the FT. 

SNP’s Stephen Gethins MP added: “Despite all the rhetoric, it’s clear that Boris Johnson and his government are planning to rip up workers’ rights and pursue a post-Brexit race to the bottom on regulations that have maintained key protections for workers.”

However, a government spokesperson said that the government “has no intention of lowering the standards of workers’ rights or environmental protection after we leave the EU and we already exceed EU minimum standards in areas such as maternity leave, shared parental leave and greenhouse gas targets.”

“UK Level Playing Field commitments will be negotiated in the context of the future UK-EU Free Trade Agreement, where we will achieve a balance of rights and obligations which reflect the scope and depth of the future relationship,” the spokesperson added.

So what would reduced workers’ rights look like?

Currently, the EU has in place a number of regulations, which we could assume would be lost if the draft document rings true.

These include the working time directive, a regulation which limits the number of hours that a person can work per week.

The EU protects pay equality, by requiring persons doing the same job to be paid equally. 

It also limits the amount of pollutants that can be in a working environment. 

The key difference about the current bill and it’s relation to protecting these regulations is that they are covered in the “political declaration”, which is not legally binding.

Theresa May’s deal covered workers’ rights in the withdrawal agreement. 

Meka Beresford is a freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter.

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4 Responses to “Will workers’ rights be ‘ripped up’ post-Brexit?”

  1. Tom Sacold

    The UK has always set higher standards than the minimum set by the EU. I’m sure you remember all those articles in the Mail and Telegraph complaining about British civil servants ‘gold plating’ EU directives.

    Just a couple of examples:
    UK – Sick Pay 28 weeks, EU – None set
    UK – Holiday pay 28 days, EU – 20 days
    UK – Maternity paid leave 52 weeks, EU – 14 weeks
    UK – Minimum wage £8.21 soon to be £10.50, EU – None set

  2. UK students protest against Samsung union-busting and abysmal workers' rights | Left Foot Forward

    […] She explained: “The right to unionise is vital. Without this right workers can’t change the horrific conditions they work in. […]

  3. terry toolin

    Take this FT publication with a pinch of salt

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