Last week's statement by TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady in which she said:
“The white paper tells us little we did not already know, and still leaves working people exposed to risks to their rights and jobs.", has now been answered: there will be absolutely no protection during the negotiations at all! Nor will protection of jobs be a consideration!
This was the answer given by the Government last night as it rejected every single amendment to the Article 50 Bill and as a result, for the first time since 1914, a proposed piece of legislation has gone through without the scrutiny of a third reading!
As Alex Salmond stated from the SNP last night, this is treating Parliament with contempt.
Every single amendment levied aiming to protect the UK workforce from job losses and to remove the threat to worker's rights, was rejected by Tory MPs and the Government.
The message is clear, the Government are preparing to slash every one of the worker's rights protected by the EU.
Rees-Mogg, a leading Tory MP stated this week in an interview on TV, that the standards and safeguards that exist in India are good enough for the UK too!
Workplace health and safety as we know it will very soon be trashed as reports in The Guardian newspaper make it clear, as they say, Workers are facing a massive onslaught of zero hours contracts and a virtual bonfire of worker's rights legislation!
Frances O'Grady added to her concerns last week in her press release by saying that the white paper, ".... says nothing about how the NHS and our public services will be protected in trade deals from predatory international companies."
“While it’s good to see the government maintain its commitment to protecting existing workers’ rights, people need to know the government won’t seek to compete in a race to the bottom that allows their rights to fall behind workers in the rest of Europe.
So Theresa May should confirm that future trade deals with the EU will include a commitment to abide by minimum EU requirements for workers’ rights."
Last night, no such commitment was made, indeed any hope of such commitments have gone entirely!
Frances concluded last weeks press release, by saying:
“The government has set out its aspirations for trade agreements once we’ve left the EU. But there’s little explanation of how jobs and living standards will be kept safe while those deals are negotiated. This is especially important if we are to run the bigger risks that come with leaving the single market too. The Chancellor must use his budget to show how people’s jobs and living standards will be protected.”
Last nights the route of every amendment to the Article 50 enabling Bill, lays down the gauntlet to the House of Lords to ratify the Bill in it's entirety without amendments.
In fact the Government have today threatened the existing of the House of Lords if they make any amendments that it sees as frustrating their wish for a what many are saying is their preferred stance - a hard Brexit.
This morning many are attacking the Labour Party for supporting the Tory Government stance, including the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas who took to Twitter writing: '#Article50 Bill passes 494 to 122 without a single amendment. Blueprint for an extreme Tory #brexit & Labour waved it through. Unbelievable'
This left Jeremy Corbyn promising that Labour will do everything in it's power to protect workers rights and living standards in the next two years during the negotiations.
It is hard for many to believe his words or ability to do so when the fact is that Labour refuse to work with other opposition MPs and had absolutely no chance last night or will do in the future of succeeding with any amendments to future Tory legislation on worker's rights or economic policies such as turning the UK into a tax haven, or the abolition of most if not all worker's rights as protected by the EU.
Indeed the passage of the Bill means that the Government has a blank cheque to do whatever it wishes in the negotiations to leave the EU, including crashing out of and accepting WTO rules and immediately obtaining a trade deal with the USA, which in itself puts the NHS at grave risk from American private healthcare companies, threatens worker's rights along workplace health and safety; and ultimately food and environmental safety.
Parliament now, including Labour can only do one of two things: agree the final deal with the EU for Britain's exit or reject it and give May the perfect excuse to leave without a deal. This is clearly in the view of majority commentators, Tory Government preference and explains Theresa May's rush to the side of Donald Trump within a week of his inauguration as American President.
Source: TUC / The Guardian / Twitter