Brexit: Potential impacts on labour rights

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27 June 2016

Commentary: Brexit will not fix social policies that have caused casualisation of work in the UK

Author: Simon Deakin, in Social Europe

"Brexit, Labour Rights And Migration: What’s Really At Stake," 20 Jun 2016

The…UK referendum debate look set to be dominated by social policy, centred on the question of migration…The overriding issue is now economic insecurity and the dangerous political dynamic it has created…[D]eindustrialisation is largely something which the UK has brought upon itself, but which EU rules have done nothing to prevent, and have probably…exacerbated…[T]he perception that EU rules on free movement of labour are driving casualisation of work and wages in the UK labour market is partially correct, but a much bigger causal factor is UK domestic social policy, together with the EU’s rules on freedom for enterprises to move across borders in search of low-cost regulatory regimes. Is there a way out of this bind for progressive politics? Brexit would not help, since [there is]…no guarantee of a switch of direction in social policy…It is the rules governing free movement for capital, not just labour, which must be reconsidered...Reversing this trend will be critical…for the very future of the EU…[Also refers to Amazon, Sports Direct, and Tata Steel.]

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