TUC: PM must guarantee workers that their rights are safe after Brexit

30 Sep 2016 12:29 PM

100 days after the vote to leave the EU, the TUC is today (Friday) calling on Theresa May to assure working people she will protect their rights that are currently guaranteed by the EU, and will make sure British workers don't fall behind European workers in the future.

In her speech on becoming Prime Minister, Theresa May appealed directly to working people who are struggling to make ends meet, and who face job insecurity. She said: “when we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you.”

The TUC says that protection and improvement of workers’ rights outside the EU is a test of this commitment. And an agreement not to undercut the EU on employment rights must be at the heart of any future UK trade agreement with the EU.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Prime Minister must reassure working people that they will not pay the price for Brexit.

“No-one voted to put their rights at work in jeopardy. But 100 days later, we’re still in the dark about EU-guaranteed rights like parental leave, protection from excessive working hours, and protections for part-timers and agency workers.

“It’s time the Prime Minister made a clear commitment to protect all workers’ rights. And she must set out how she will make sure British workers do not see their working conditions fall behind European workers in the future.

On the need to protect the livelihoods of working people, she added:

“The government must set out a negotiation strategy that protects trade, investment and jobs. Otherwise we risk sleepwalking towards a hard Brexit, which would leave working people facing hard times.”


  • As well as current rights, the TUC is calling on the government to ensure that UK workers do not lose out on future improvements to workers’ rights in the EU. This would not only make sure that British workers do not end up worse off than workers in neighbouring countries, it would also help ensure that British companies can trade in the EU without barriers. Future proposals from the EU could include guarantees for workers to receive the same rate of pay for the job, whichever country they are from, helping to prevent undercutting.
  • Theresa May has previously spoken about the need to act on problems faced by workers that rights at work can help them with. In her speech on becoming Prime Minister, she spoke about building a country that works for all, including those who work long hours, but are still struggling and have no job security (www.gov.uk/government/speeches/statement-from-the-new-prime-minister-theresa-may).
  • The TUC has published 5 test that it believes should be met before Article 50 is triggered. For more information seewww.tuc.org.uk/international-issues/europe/eu-referendum/tuc-publishes-5-tests-prime-minister-must-meet-triggering
  • The TUC has published an action plan for the economy to protect jobs, industry and public services at risk from Brexit. For more information see www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/WorkingPeopleMustNotPaythePrice.pdf