'Post-Brexit review of UK workers' rights should worry everybody'

19 January 2021, 20:08

'Post-Brexit review of UK workers' rights should worry everybody'
'Post-Brexit review of UK workers' rights should worry everybody'. Picture: PA/LBC

By Fiona Jones

The post-Brexit review of UK workers' rights should "worry everybody", Shadow Employment Secretary Andy McDonald told LBC.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has confirmed his department is reviewing how EU employment rights protections could be changed after Brexit - he has stated that they will not be watered down.

Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights and Protection Andy McDonald said despite it being a review it is "fairly obvious" workers' right will be watered down because "you don't embark upon a consultation like this without knowing where you're headed."

He predicted there will be changes around how many hours can be worked a week, rest breaks, and "over time will be calculated so that it doesn't figure into holiday pay entitlement."

"It's longer hours, less pay and less safe working conditions and that should worry everybody."

Mr McDonald told Iain that the presumption the UK has better working rights than the EU is incorrect: "There have been so many times that unions have had to go to employment tribunals to secure those rights. We've got an awful environment in terms of the current legislation. Lots of people who go to work aren't protected at all because they're not classed as employees."

The Labour MP also pointed out that the incoming Business Secretary co-authored the book Britannia Unchained in 2012 which branded British workers as "among the worst idlers" - he told Iain he was "not much reassured" by this fact.

"You'll forgive me for not being overly persuaded by his words of comfort and reassurance," Mr McDonald said.