Yesterday, we got a little glimpse of what the Tories really think Brexit means for our rights.
The Brexit Select Committee met yesterday, and took evidence on life after Brexit for what they call ‘regulations’ (and what we would probably call ‘rights’, ‘standards’ or ‘protections’).
Since the Referendum, the Tories have been offering some warm words on workplace rights. Of course they’ll all be protected, they promise…
Those of us with a memory that goes back a bit longer (earlier this year, for example) remember the Tories’ record on rights at work. We remember The Trade Union Act, that only became law earlier this year. We remember them making work less secure, when they doubled the amount of time you need to work to be protected from being sacked unfairly. And we remember when they made it easier and quicker to make large groups of workers redundant. Quite the record – and that’s just since 2010.
Now, they’re claiming to be the Workers’ Party, and telling us they promise to keep those rights at work we get from Europe safe after Brexit.
Well, yesterday, we got a glimpse of what the Tories really think about life after Brexit – and (surprise!) it involves watering down those rights.
At the Brexit Select Committee, two leading Tory Brexiteers (Michael Gove and John Whittingdale) pushed business representatives to say what work they had done to examine the scope for rolling back regulation after Brexit. One of their witnesses, John Longworth, said “opportunities for deregulation are legion”.
This should perhaps come as no surprise. We’ve already heard reports that former Tory Chairman, Grant Schapps, plans to attach a “sunset clause” to the Great Repeal Bill to time-limit rights that come from Europe. It was Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary, who said “Scrap the social chapter”, and “The weight of employment regulation is now back-breaking: the collective redundancies directive, the atypical workers directive, the working time directive and a thousand more.”
And Priti Patel, International Development Secretary, who said in May “If we could just halve the burdens of the EU social and employment legislation we could deliver a £4.3bn boost to our economy and 60,000 new jobs”.
We know the Tory record on our rights at work. You can see it here: http://action.unionstogether.org.uk/rights
And we know that a promise to protect rights made now won’t be worth much when a future Tory Government decides to start chipping away at them. That’s why we need those rights to be guaranteed, and protected for the future. And working people also need to know that that guarantee won’t just apply to the rights Europe protects now – what if the EU strengthens employment rights in the years ahead? Will the UK guarantee to match them, or will we fail to keep up, with working Britain’s rights gradually falling behind those of workers in the EU?
That’s why we’re campaigning to PROTECT OUR JOBS AND RIGHTS – through Brexit and beyond. We need to make sure that the Government understand that our rights matter, and we want guarantees – not warm words and promises.
You can support us by checking out the Tories’ record when it comes to our rights: http://action.unionstogether.org.uk/rights, and adding your name to our campaign: http://action.unionstogether.org.uk/addyourname