Unions, employers and environmental groups have all been campaigning for months against the Retained EU Law Bill. On 11 May, the government was forced to overhaul its much-criticised Bill. This is a great victory for our campaign!
A belated U-turn means the government has instead listed the laws it intends to revoke, allowing for greater scrutiny. There appears to be little relevant employment rights legislation on the list for deletion. But the Bill still gives considerable powers to ministers to revoke or change EU-derived legislation.
We shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security
Holiday pay, parental rights and health and safety protections remain vulnerable to the whims of a Secretary of State.
It also appears that the government remains wedded to a policy programme that sees axing rights as the route to economic growth.
A policy paper published by the government gives an indication of some of their intentions.
Meanwhile when workers’ employment is transferred, the government wants to remove the need for smaller businesses to consult with elected employee representatives.
While ministers might have seen some sense, we must stay alert to threats in the future.
What does this Bill mean?
Many of our UK laws originally came from EU legislation. Now that the UK has left the EU, these laws are under threat. Instead of MPs choosing what reforms to make, the government wants to automatically scrap all of the EU-derived laws by the end of next year. Ministers will then cherry-pick some laws to keep or restate, but with little scrutiny from MPs or consultation with the public.
There are thousands of laws under threat, including a number of our key workplace rights such as holiday pay, the right to parental leave, and protections for part-time and fixed-term workers.
We've all had to put up with enough this year. If passed, this bill will cause chaos and uncertainty for working people at an already difficult time.
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