The TUC says it received a letter from the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng in February 2022 which promised "there is no government plan to reduce workers rights", after the union body had called for guarantees following the start of a review into EU-retained law.
The union body is calling for fresh assurance in the wake of new reports.
The TUC previously commissioned the legal help of Michael Ford QC to examine the rights at risk post-Brexit, including those strengthened by EU law. The rights include, among others:
These rights provide an essential protection against the erosion of working conditions, which are already under threat. Women living in North East Somerset currently earn an average of just 56.6% of the earnings of their male counterparts; the TUC South West region warns that without essential EU legislation, conditions such as these could erode even further, becoming harder to rectify.
The reports suggest that the bill will “fast-track” repealing regulations. The TUC says this could see some essential rights removed or watered down without proper parliamentary scrutiny.
The prime minister has promised to protect and enhance workers’ rights post-Brexit on numerous occasions.
In addition to the threat to “essential” workplace rights, the TUC points to the EU Commission’s proposals to strengthen the rights of platform workers, which shows how the UK is already at risk of falling behind our European counterparts on workers’ rights a year into Brexit.
TUC South West Regional Secretary Nigel Costley said:
“Workers in North East Somerset, as across the UK, will feel the hit if Mr. Rees-Mogg is allowed to treat essential workplace protections as so-called ‘burdens of regulation’.
Protections such as holiday entitlement, parental leave, equal pay, and equal treatment for part-time workers are essential to our wellbeing and quality of life. These are the very rights which are protected by retained EU law.
This reckless, sweeping proposal treats all EU legislation with one brush, and if allowed to go ahead without scrutiny would be a shameful dismissal of conditions that workers depend on. We would hope Rees-Mogg wouldn’t stoop to this level of contempt for working people, especially those in his own constituency.
This government has promised to ‘protect and enhance’ workers’ rights after Brexit; it is time that they make good on those promises.”
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