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Protecting employees

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 22:19
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There was general agreement in the Leave campaign that on departure from the EU all employee rights that are in EU law should be retained as good UK law.

When we researched what was entailed, it became apparent that Labour and Conservative governments had pioneered rights which subsequently the EU took up, or had gone beyond the standards required to comply with EU law anyway. Conservative and Labour spokespeople on the Leave campaign all united to recommend to government retaining the rights in UK law. The UK government did not propose diluting them and there are no plans to do so.

The new Prime Minister has repeated the pledge, and made clear she has no wish to dilute rights currently included in EU law that benefit employees. The European Communities Act 1972 Repeal Bill will include crucial clauses confirming that after leaving the EU all current EU law including the employment measures will be good UK law. Whereas following the passage of the Act the UK government may well wish to amend the border laws and the fishing laws amongst others, there will be no adverse changes to employment law.

This means that Mr Corbyn’s understandable concern that Brexit is not used to undermine employee rights will be fully respected. It also means that Labour MPs will need to vote for the Repeal Act if they wish to keep their pledge to maintain EU employment law in UK law, as this will be the way to do that. Were we leave without doing this, then all directly acting EU law would lapse on our exit. It would be odd indeed if Labour wanted to undermine this legal settlement.

The passage of the Bill will give Parliament plenty of opportunity to debate these matters. There will also continue to be other debates and votes. This week we had a Statement on Brexit on Monday and will have a debate on it with a vote tomorrow.This is an Opposition motion. Interestingly, it does not seek to stop an Article 50 letter, so maybe they understand they need to help implement the wishes of the people.


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