“A direct and immediate threat to working people” – Raab wanted to abolish minimum wage, scrap employment rights and TUPE protection

New Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab poses a “direct and immediate threat to working people in Britain”, according to the GMB.

The union says Raab wanted to abolish the National Minimum Wage for workers under 21 working in small businesses, scrap employment rights for agency workers and end TUPE protection from workers.

GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: “This appointment signals a promotion of a hard right figurehead who has shown contempt for working people in Britain. Theresa May has appointed someone who think British workers are lazy and have too many rights and he has already published plans to slash vital rights from the minimum wage to rights for agency workers.

“The hard won rights of UK workers are already under serious threat in the post-Brexit landscape – basic things like not being forced to work 60 hours a week and being able to get home to see your family. Dominic Raab’s appointment now poses a direct and immediate threat to working people in Britain.

“At a time when we see a Tory back bencher salivating at the prospect of axing the Working Time Directive, the new Brexit Minister needs be clear where he stands on workers’ rights – the public will not accept a Brexit that makes life harder for working people.”

Raab sat on the Parliamentary Council of the controversial Trade Union Reform Campaign, set up in 2012, and chaired by Aidan Burley, the Tory MP for Cannock Chase who was sacked as a ministerial aide after being caught up in a Nazi-themed stag party scandal.

Other people involved in TURC, which has been inactive since 2013, include Liam Fox MP, new Health Secretary Matthew Hancock and Harry Cole from Guido Fawkes.

A statement on their website reads: “We campaign for reform of the laws and funding arrangements relating to trade unions. We do not oppose trade unions right to exist and to campaign on issues which are important to them. However, we do not believe that the hard pressed tax payer should be forced to pay for their campaigns either directly or indirectly. Furthermore, we believe that when trade unions take action which affects the wider public it should have a greater element of democratic legitimacy.”

The GMB says Raab needs to be held account for his previous comments denigrating British workers and proposals to weaken rights including the minimum wage. He is the co-author of the hard-right ‘Britannia Unchained’ manifesto in 2012 , written by Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Dominic Raab MP, Chris Skidmore MP, Liz Truss MP and Priti Patel MP.

Priti Patel was also a prominent supporter of TURC, and voted to exempt workers with employee shareholder status from certain employment rights, including unfair dismissal rights, the right to have statutory redundancy pay, the right to request flexible working and the right to time off for training.

The jointly penned book claimed British workers ‘prefer a lie-in to hard work’ and that British people ‘are amongst the worst idlers in the world’

This follows Raab’s proposals in a pamphlet published by the Centre for Policy Studies in 2011 entitled ‘Escaping the Strait Jacket’. Raab’s pamphlet includes proposals to:

  • abolish the minimum wage for workers aged under 21 working in small businesses
  • abolish the working time directive
  • scrap employment rights for agency workers’ rights and conditions
  • end TUPE protection for all workers when their job is transferred to a new employer
  • ensure workers employed by small businesses don’t benefit from flexible working rights or pension auto-enrolment

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey tweeted: “Appointing Dominic Raab as Brexit secretary is a further kick in the teeth for working people. This is the man who described the need to protect workers’ rights after Brexit as red tape and described foodbank users as having cashflow problems. Could Theresa May get it any more wrong?”

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