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Usdaw cautions MPs that Conservative assurances on post-Brexit employment rights are meaningless

Date: 10 January 2019 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is urging Members of Parliament to ignore anything less than legally binding assurances on employment rights, as the debate continues on the ‘meaningful vote’.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “The Conservative record on employment rights is poor and this Government has completely failed to engage with trade unions on the issue. This means we have little faith that this Government would deliver on any promises and we oppose MPs accepting anything short of legal guarantees on maintaining existing employment rights and implementing all new rights that the EU adopts after Brexit.
 
“Our concerns about the Prime Minister’s withdrawal deal extend beyond employment rights alone. Since the outcome of the referendum over two years ago Usdaw has called for a Brexit deal that protects workers’ rights, ensures frictionless trade and maintains the Good Friday Agreement by avoiding a hard border in Ireland. As things stand it is now clear that the Prime Minister’s deal does not deliver on any of those key concerns, so Usdaw continues to urge MPs to vote against the deal.
 
“Europe has delivered core employment rights that Usdaw members rely on, such as: Paid holiday leave and proper rest breaks; safeguards against discrimination; equal treatment for part-time workers; information and consultation in the workplace; TUPE rights for transferring workers, and important health and safety protections.
 
“These are minimum employment standards that help ensure fairness in the workplace and a level playing field that stops rogue employers undercutting rivals at the expense of their staff. We have to ensure that a post-Brexit Britain does not spiral downwards into low wages and insecure employment.”
 
Usdaw is concerned about a lack of clarity in the deal on the fundamental issues that are important to our members, including:
  • Workers’ rights not being fully protected once we leave the EU, even during the transition period. After the transition, new EU employment rights set to come into force will not apply in the UK. 
  • The only employment rights commitments for the period after the transition are in the draft non-binding political declaration. This means that any future government could simply ignore the intentions of this statement - a worrying prospect particularly in light of this Government’s track record of attacking workers’ rights.
  • The deal does not deliver on the issue of frictionless trade, which will have a negative impact on our economy and risk jobs, as we know from the Government’s own leaked impact assessment.
  • The immediate threat of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland has been averted but there are still serious questions about how the situation will be resolved in the long term. 

Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with around 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers