Today in Parliament, Boris Johnson is trying to push through legislation at breakneck speed in an attempt to implement his sell out Brexit deal. It is a deal that would put workers’ rights in jeopardy by significantly weakening workplace and consumer protections. Crucially the deal removes most of the “level playing field” provision in the previous Withdrawal Agreement, which provided protection.
This is not an accident or an oversight.
Boris Johnson and his Cabinet appointees have a long history of saying they want to row back on hard fought for employment rights.
In 2012, Boris Johnson said the UK should scrap the EU’s Social Chapter which guarantees certain employee protection, workers’ representation and health and safety standards.
“Boil it down to the single market. Scrap the social chapter.”The Independent, 4 December 2012
He also said, in 2014, that “the weight of employment regulation” was “back-breaking”.
Dominic Raab (Foreign Secretary)
Johnson’s deputy, once wrote a pamphlet entitled ‘Escaping the Straight Jacket‘, which outlined his plans to cut workers’ rights and regulations, most of which are protected under EU law. These included:
- excluding small businesses from paying under-21s the minimum wage;
- excluding small businesses from having to consider requests for flexible working, or requests for time off for training;
- introducing no-fault dismissals; and
- abolishing the Working Time Regulations, which prevent people from working over 48 hours per week.
Let’s not forget that he also doesn’t believe in the Human Rights Act or social rights (check out the video here if you haven’t seen it before)
Andrea Leadsom (Business Secretary)
If any more evidence was needed about this Government’s in-built bias against workers just read the comments of the current Business Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, who wanted to scrap all workers’ rights for small businesses.
“I envisage there being absolutely no regulation whatsoever – no minimum wage, no maternity or paternity rights, no unfair dismissal rights, no pension rights – for the smallest companies that are trying to get off the ground.”Huffington Post, 19 December 2017, https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/working-time-directive_uk_5a38f926e4b0860bf4aaee7f
Priti Patel (Home Secretary)
During the referendum campaign, Priti Patel, now Home Secretary, called for the Government to “halve” the amount of protection given to British workers after Brexit.
“If we could just halve the burdens of the EU social and employment legislation we could deliver a £4.3 billion boost to our economy and 60,000 new jobs.”Belfast Telegraph, 18 May 2016, https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/brexit-would-boost-uk-economy-by-4-3bn-claims-patel-34723908.html#
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Leader of the House of Commons)
Not to be out done, Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg said that he didn’t support all the employment rights that come from Europe.
“I don’t think those laws need to be made for us by foreigners. A Labour government may wish to campaign for more employment rights; a Conservative government may wish to reduce them. But surely that is the right of voters, not the European courts… I don’t support all the employment rights that come from Europe.”Channel 4 News, 16 February 2016
This small selection of comments show that Boris Johnson & Co. will use Brexit to weaken workers’ rights and protections.
You can’t trust the Tories with workers’ rights.