From the TUC

Unite urges members to sound the alarm if jobs threatened by #Brexit

08 Mar 2017, By Guest

Unite has launched a new website to make sure its members are kept informed about what’s happening about Brexit, an online resource dedicated to bringing the news, views, facts and analysis on the negotiations for the UK to leave the European Union. And last week, the union called on members to ‘sound the alarm’ if Brexit threatens their jobs and living standards. An online tool called BrexitCheck offers a ‘worker’s-eye’ view of the most important debates and decisions facing the country and its communities for generations.

Unite says that monitoring the impact of the uncertainty swirling around the UK’s new future outside of the remaining 27 member states will identify problems for pay, conditions, investment and jobs as it continues its fight for a Brexit that works for working people.

The union says it is receiving early indications of Brexit having a direct impact in the workplace. Members at one company have reported that they are being prevented from undertaking union negotiations with EU colleagues by their UK employer who says that it no longer sees any value in cross-border working relations. Another national employer attempted to walk away from talks over holiday pay in the wake of the Brexit vote.

And key voices in the UK automotive industry – where Unite has tens of thousands of members in plants and through the supply chain – have expressed a reluctance to commit to the UK over the government’s stance on access to the single market and continuing membership of the customs union.

Unite’s General Secretary Len McCluskey says:

“Unite has members in all the nations of these isles, giving us a unique perspective on the Brexit process. Decisions made in the coming months will direct the course of our nations and people for many years to come, which is why Unite is determined that the voice of working people will be heard.

“People may have voted to be out of Europe, they did not vote to be poorer or out of work. That is why we are urging members to sound the alarm, or even report on positive developments, when Brexit impacts on their workplace and their communities.”

Top priority for Unite is that the UK retains access to the single market and membership of the customs union. The jobs, core industries and prosperity of all four nations of the UK rely heavily on this access – so for the prime minister to stubbornly refuse to make this her priority is reckless because it places this country and its people on a very uncertain road.

Second is retaining the rights of working people. Whatever the prime minister may say about preserving workers’ rights, there are too many in her party licking their lips at the prospect of a low tax, low pay, no rights UK for workers to feel at all confident about the country that will emerge after 2019.

Len McCluskey added:

“We will carry on the fight to convince the government to end its repugnant treatment of EU migrants living in, working in and contributing to our country. Human beings should not be used as bargaining chips and the government’s determination to do so diminishes the UK in the eyes of the world.”

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