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UK: Labour & trade unions call on Govt. to include protection for workers' rights in Brexit agreement

Author: Dan Sabbagh, The Guardian, Published on: 4 February 2019

'Labour: May proposals for workers' rights likely to be rejected', 1 Feb 2019

Labour and leading trade unions have said they are unlikely to endorse any proposals from Theresa May aimed at improving workers’ rights after Brexit, [...].

Trade unions involved in discussing a possible workers’ rights package, which the government hopes will help some Labour MPs support its Brexit deal, said they had yet to see anything from ministers they could support.

Union sources said they would want to see the government commit to putting future protection for workers’ rights in the Brexit agreement struck with the European Union, rather than in UK legislation that could be repealed by a future government. [....]

Greg Clark, the business secretary, and Steve Barclay, the Brexit secretary, are working on legislation that unions believe would commit the government to not lowering standards on employment, environmental protection and health and safety after Brexit.

As well as demanding that such protections are inserted into the exit treaty, unions want a binding commitment that the UK will match any improvements passed by the EU. [...]

The ministers have also been talking to Labour backbenchers in leave-supporting areas, including John Mann, in the hope of getting at least a dozen to back May’s deal and make up for the lost votes of Tory Brexiters who will not support any deal May strikes with the EU.

The talks have included the idea of creating a “transformation fund” which could be invested in mining communities and other post-industrial, leave-supporting areas to support job creation, according to Mann. [...]

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