A new cross-party group named ‘Vote Leave Watch’ has been set up by pro-EU MPs in an effort to convince Theresa May to sanction employment law legislation that gives UK workers to maintain certain rights they’ve enjoyed under EU law regardless of the potential change that Brexit may bring.
Labour MP Chuka Umunna, Chair of the Vote Leave Watch group, has expressed his fear that worker rights will ‘fall away’ should effective support not be implemented prior to Britain formally leaving the European Union. Umunna wrote to the PM arguing that she should continue supporting EU employment law: “You owe it to the working people of Britain to make clear that the pledges made by your cabinet colleagues to retain EU legislation on workers’ rights will be delivered”.
Vote Leave Watch wants to prioritise certain aspects of EU Law, namely those laws that relate to employee annual leave and break times. The party firmly believes that worker rights can be preserved if new UK legislation incorporating current EU laws is officially passed into law, such as the working time directive.
The party also plans to convince the government to undertake an audit of every occasion when the European Court of Justice passed a decision in support of legal employment rights for UK workers. This data will be reviewed with the possibility of making such past rulings an official part of UK law beyond EU regulations.
In addition to the efforts of Vote leave Watch, other organisations have spoken of their concern at UK workers losing certain working rights after Brexit. USDAW union General Secretary, John Hannett, spoke of his support for EU legislation which he believes has helped British workers against “discrimination, unscrupulous bosses, and the worst excesses of Tory governments”.
Hannett has made an appeal directly to Theresa May, in which he states: “The prime minister came to office talking a good game about standing up for working people. She should guarantee that every single right for workers delivered by the European Union will stay in place.”