While all indications today point to a “no-deal” Brexit, news from the EU suggests UK workers’ rights are in trouble even if negotiators strike a last-minute accord.
In a letter to Michel Barnier, seen by the Independent, the European Trades Union Confederation (ETUC) raised its concerns that the EU might drop its insistence on a clause that would force the UK to maintain a level playing field with Europe around workers’ rights even after the transition period when it has fully exited the bloc.
Instead, trade union officials in Brussels have learned that the clause would be replaced with a less protective “no regression” clause that would allow the UK to fall behind progress made in Europe.
ETUC believes this is part of a UK plan to use Brexit as a way to begin a race to the bottom on workers’ rights by slashing protection for British workers in a bid to woo business with “cheap” labour.
“The UK government has made no mystery of its intention to use regulatory sovereignty to regain competitiveness,” General Secretary of ETUC, Luca Visentini, warned. “As a result, workers in the EU would become vulnerable to undercutting.”