Toggle high contrast
Issue date

Monday 19 December 2016

Businesses and trade unions make joint call on Prime Minster to give EU workers in West Midlands the right to remain

Trade union and business leaders in the West Midlands have given their backing to an open letter from the TUC and British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) calling on the Prime Minister to make a ‘bold unilateral move’ and guarantee current EU migrant workers a right to remain in the UK after Brexit.

The joint letter says that the Prime Minister should make this commitment as it is the right thing to do morally, is in the interests of the British economy, and will send a signal of goodwill to other EU states that will benefit the UK’s negotiating position.

Midlands TUC Regional Secretary, Lee Barron, said: “Business leaders and trade unions in the West Midlands are joining voices on this because the uncertainty is bad for businesses, bad for public services, and unfair to so many of our hard-working friends and neighbours.

“Families that are settled here and making a positive contribution to our community are very worried. So this is simply the right thing to do. But it’s also about avoiding problems for business that could lose staff, and protecting services like our local hospitals, which would be in trouble if doctors and nurses from the EU left.

“We also need the government also crack down on the minority of employers who exploit migrants and undercut wages in the local community.”

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner said: “The result of the EU Referendum has already created a lot of uncertainty for the business community.

“The Government has the opportunity to instil some confidence in the business community and allay the worries of all EU migrant workers across the country. We fully support the calls for decisive action on this issue.” 


Notes to Editors:
- The full text of the letter from TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady and BCC Director General Adam Marshall to the Prime Minister is below:

Dear Prime Minister

The business communities and workers we represent across the United Kingdom share a deep and abiding concern for the rights of EU citizens currently living and working in this country. 

We have watched the government's continuing refusal to guarantee their right to remain here after Brexit with significant and deepening concern. 

Today, we urge you to break the deadlock – and give an unequivocal commitment that EU citizens working here will have a permanent right to remain in the UK. 

We recognise that this would be a bold unilateral move, particularly before the start of a complex Brexit negotiation. But it is the right move for these workers, for the businesses that employ them, for the Exchequer, and for the UK economy as a whole. It would also send a clear signal to our colleagues and to our European friends that Britain is committed to doing the right thing.

Securing EU citizens’ right to remain would provide much needed certainty to businesses, working people, their families and local communities. In addition, the government must hold to account the small number of unethical employers who exploit migrant workers to undercut pay and conditions of employment.

We call upon you to demonstrate leadership by providing EU citizens in the UK with the reassurance we would expect to be shown to UK citizens across the Continent – not by making one conditional upon the other. Now is the time to end insecurity for EU workers and for British businesses alike. 

Yours sincerely

Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary

Adam Marshall, BCC Director General

- The letter was sent to the Prime Minister in tandem with the UN’s International Migrants Day, which took place on Sunday 18 December and was established to mark the adoption on 18 December 1990 of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
- All TUC press releases can be found at
- TUC Press Office on Twitter: @tucnews

Midlands TUC regional press contact: Rob Johnston, Policy and Campaigns Officer T: 07879 497291 E:

TUC national press office: T: 020 7467 1248  E: