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This deal will threaten UK workers’ rights

Letter from Frances O'Grady
Frances O'Grady
General Secretary
Report type
Issue date

Dear Member of Parliament,

Ever since the referendum, trade unions have said that leaving the EU must not put everyday protections at risk.

These are not abstract regulations, but rights that really matter to working people.

Like paid holidays, rights for part-time workers, time off for working mums and dads, equal pay for women and limits on working hours.

Theresa May promised to protect these rights after Brexit, and she’s insisted that her deal would protect and enhance rights at work.

But I want to be clear that it doesn’t even come close.

This deal will threaten UK workers’ rights – both during the transition period and afterwards.

Under the proposals, new EU rights that come into force after the transition won’t apply to UK workers.

And after the transition, there is nothing to stop UK workers’ rights falling far behind the rest of Europe.

This deal even means that a future government could rip up the rights we have now.

The only employment rights commitments covering our future relationship with the EU are in the non-binding draft Political Declaration.

In other words, they aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

This is a bad deal for working people: bad for jobs and bad for rights.

Trade unions across Europe have long worked together to win a level playing field on rights at work. We won’t accept a deal that leaves UK workers worse off.

That is why trade unions can’t support it – and we don’t think you should either.

We need a deal that protects jobs and rights. And one way or another, the people must have a final say.

Frances O'Grady

General Secretary
Trades Union Congress

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