2022-06-09 10:13

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Rees-Mogg Intends A Bonfire Of One Thousand EU-Derived Regulations

The TUC Demands Protection Of  Workers’ Rights

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.

New media reports that the so-called ‘Brexit Opportunities’ Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg intends on a bonfire of over 1000 EU-Derived regulations including health and safety legislation; proves that the ‘Brexit Opportunities’ claims were all about opportunities to make the rich richer by deregulating everything including workplace protection, employment rights and health and safety standards.

He famously said in an interview with Channel 4 News that safety and employment regulation in India are fine for their workforce, and why not for British workers in order to make Britain more competitive and increase productivity!

The union body is calling for fresh assurance in the wake of new reports which clearly dismiss the authenticity of Kwasi Kwartang.

This of course was all warned about prior to Brexit and throughout the referendum campaign by this website, and by many trade unionists.

In 2016, the year of the EU referendum, The TUC 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:

  • Holiday pay
  • Equal pay for men and women
  • Parental leave
  • Equal treatment for part-time workers

These rights provide an essential protection against the erosion of working conditions, which are already under threat. The full report entitled, Worker's Rights From Europe: Impact Of Brexit' can be downloaded here and from the Unionsafety E-Library here

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 media reports suggest that the bill will “fast-track” repealing thousands of EU-derived regulations, and particularly those around health and safety at work legislation, including the ‘Six Pack’ of EU regulations including the Management of Health & Safety Regulations and the Display Screen Equipment Regulations.

The TUC says this could see essential rights removed or watered down without proper parliamentary scrutiny.

The prime minister promised to protect and enhance workers’ rights post-Brexit on numerous occasions, promising a Bill to enshrine worker’s rights protections in UK Law. In 2019, the Prime Minister had initially included the proposed changes in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill as he tried to secure Labour MPs' backing for it before the general election.
But in reality the Bill was stripped of those pledges - triggering an angry backlash from opposition parties; prompting a spokesman for the Prime Minister to insist that the promises on workers' rights will be contained in a new employment bill – yet to appear!

That along with most of his commitments to keeping or even ‘beefing up’ workers rights, food safety standards, environmental safety standards and water safety standards have not come to fruition. Indeed, as per usual with promises from Tory Prime Minister’s, the opposite tends to be true!

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.

Last month, Prospect, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors’ union; responded to reports on cutting environmental and health and safety rights.

Mike Clancy, their General Secretary said: 

“The success of the UK economy will come from raising productivity and investment not false pledges to cut red-tape.
No-one is clamouring for a bonfire of red tape, not business nor unions.

This an obvious distraction designed to buy off the Prime Minister’s backbench critics."

He added:

“The government must focus on tackling the cost-of-living crisis that will see workers facing impossible decisions about what to cut from household budgets this year.

Image: click to documentPrevious attempts to cut workers rights helped contribute to many of the problems that levelling up is now trying to solve.”

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.” 

Source: TUC / I News / Prospect / Unionsafety

See also: Workplace Health And Safety Regulation, Food Safety Standards To Go Up In Smoke

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