Brexit: Labour to force vote on preventing workers’ rights being slashed after EU departure

Government's EU withdrawal Bill is going through the House of Commons

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Wednesday 15 November 2017 01:54
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Jeremy Corbyn's Labour will push for a vote on Tuesday
Jeremy Corbyn's Labour will push for a vote on Tuesday

Labour will force a vote on Tuesday night in a bid to prevent the Government having powers to slash workers’ rights after Brexit.

The party believes that unless it can force a change to Theresa May’s EU withdrawal Bill then fundamental employment protections, like paid leave and equal pay could be chipped away.

The Bill grants ministers some time-limited “Henry VIII powers” which will allow ministers to alter sections of legislation being bought from Europe onto the British statute book after Brexit.

But Labour believes that even after these powers subside, ministers could use similar powers in the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act to scrap worker’s rights.

Shadow Brexit Minister Matthew Pennycook said: “Labour has been clear from the outset that the withdrawal bill is fundamentally flawed and is a serious threat to workers’ rights.

“If left unamended, the Bill would give the Tories the power to chip away at fundamental employment protections, like paid leave and equal pay, without any scrutiny. That is completely unacceptable.

“The Government should listen to the serious concerns of trade unions and accept Labour’s amendment.”

Labour has already tabled its amendment and is confident it will be selected for a vote in the Commons on Tuesday.

It come after the Trade Union Congress has warned that “there is a real risk ministers will adopt a salami-slicing exercise after we leave the EU.”

Trade union lawyer, Michael Ford, has warned “a process is likely to begin of identifying which EU-derived employment legislation should be repealed.

“There already exist legal models in the UK for using secondary legislation to identify and remove legislation.”

Ministers are already attempting to allay Tory rebels concerns over the Henry VIIII powers contain dint he EU withdrawal Bill, and are likely to have to make further concessions in coming weeks.

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