Issue date
23 Dec 2016

23 December 2016

The TUC has today (Friday) called on the Prime Minister to make clear to Britain’s bosses that any watering down of workers’ rights following Brexit is off the table.

The TUC call follows the emergence of a letter sent to MPs by Simon Boyd, the head of REIDsteel, which details a list of workers’ rights on areas such as working hours, holiday pay and health and safety that he wants abolished once we leave the EU.

The letter shows that the Brexit vote was seen as a means to an end for scrapping workers’ rights by some of the bosses who campaigned to leave the EU, says the TUC.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Leave campaign promised people more control over their lives. But now bad bosses are trying to hijack Brexit to let them walk all over working people. No-one voted to leave to lose vital protections like safe working hours and fair holiday pay.

“The Prime Minister promised working people that all rights and protections that come from the EU will be safe when Britain leaves. She must stand firm now, and guarantee that the UK will respect all existing rights at work. And she must go further and promise Britain’s workers that her government will mirror all new protections for workers in the rest of Europe while the UK is negotiating to leave the EU.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:
- The full text of the letter sent to MPs by Simon Boyd, Managing Director of REIDsteel, is here: http://2mbg6fgb1kl380gtk22pbxgw.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/What-has-Membership-of-the-EU-done-for-Us.pdf
- Simon Boyd was an active campaigner for leaving the EU during the referendum campaign.
- The Secretary of State for Leaving the EU, David Davis, told the Conservative Party Conference in October: “To those who are trying to frighten British workers, saying “When we leave, employment rights will be eroded”, I say firmly and unequivocally “no they won’t’. Britain already goes beyond EU law in many areas – and we give this guarantee: this Conservative government will not roll back those rights in the workplace.” (full speech is here: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/10/full-speech-david-daviss-conference-speech/)
- The Prime Minister Theresa May told the Conservative Party Conference in October: “Let me be absolutely clear: existing workers’ legal rights will continue to be guaranteed in law – and they will be guaranteed as long as I am Prime Minister.  And in fact, as we announced yesterday, under this Government, we’re going see workers’ rights not eroded, and not just protected, but enhanced under this Government.” (full speech is here: http://press.conservatives.com/post/151239411635/prime-minister-britain-after-brexit-a-vision-of)
- Earlier this year the TUC published a legal opinion it commissioned detailing the EU-derived workers’ rights most at risk from Brexit. More information can be found here: https://www.tuc.org.uk/international-issues/europe/eu-referendum/workplace-issues/brexit-could-risk-%E2%80%9Clegal-and-commercial
- All TUC press releases can be found at tuc.org.uk/media
- TUC Press Office on Twitter: @tucnews