Unions, Labour and the left vow to fight for a deal that delivers for the working class
LABOUR and unions warned Theresa May against seeking to use EU exit negotiations as an excuse to ditch laws that protect workers, consumers and the environment as she kickstarts the two-year process today.
Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer attacked Tory former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith yesterday following his call for a “radical rootand-branch” review of EU regulations.
Mr Starmer said these “costly” regulations hated by rightwingers included basic workers’ rights, adding: “It is increasingly clear that rights and protections are seen by many senior Tories, including the Cabinet, as an “expensive” luxury that British workers and consumers can do without.
“That is why one of Labour’s six tests for the Brexit deal is that it defends hard-foughtfor rights and protections and doesn’t lead to a race to the bottom.”
Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths said leaving the EU must not become “an excuse for diluting people’s already meagre rights at work,” but said the left should set its sights on the opportunities the negotiations present.
“Triggering Article 50 opens the way to progressive policies outside the EU to control capital, raise public funds for infrastructure investment, enforce equal rights for migrant workers and radically cut or abolish VAT.
“Such policies would remain unlawful if we stay in the single market.”
The government must also not lose sight of the three million EU nationals who live in Britain and one million British nationals living on the continent, campaigners have said.
Groups reminded Ms May that she has to resist using people as “bargaining chips” in upcoming negotiations with 27 other EU nations.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The best deal will guarantee that hardworking Brits keep their hard-won rights at work — and that in the years to come they won’t miss out on protections that Dutch, Spanish and German workers get.