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Protecting workers’ rights using the UK-EU trade and cooperation agreement' - TUC summary

Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
Key findings

In December 2020 the UK and EU governments signed the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).  Due to campaigning by trade unions in the UK and across Europe over the four years of Brexit negotiations, a key principle of the agreement was that neither the UK or EU countries should lower standards on workers’ rights.

These were called ‘Level Playing Field’ commitments. 

The TCA contains a mechanism not found in any previous UK or EU trade agreement which allows penalties to be applied against the UK or EU if standards on workers’ rights are lowered. 

The TUC commissioned an academic study from Professor Federico Ortino (King’s College London) to better understand the Level Playing Field provisions and how trade unions can use them to prevent attacks on workers’ rights. 

The full study can be downloaded here.

This briefing summarises the key findings of this study.

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