TUC fears trade unions are being shut out of May’s Brexit deal

The TUC is concerned trade unions are being shut out of the Brexit deal being negotiated by Theresa May.

In a blog on the TUC website, the TUC’s European Union and International Relations Department policy officer Rosa Crawford writes: “The government has so far shut trade unions out of the negotiations on Brexit and trade.

“For example, unions were given no notice of the zero tariffs plans that were unveiled last week, even though they would affect the jobs of thousands of our members. And it looks like unions will continue to be shut out in the future.

“The government’s recent command paper on free trade agreements once the UK has left the EU made no mention of the role that trade unions would play in ensuring trade negotiations protect workers’ rights or jobs.

“By contrast, the EU is showing signs of increasing trade union access to trade negotiations.

“After strong trade union pressure, the EU gave trade unionists access to the texts of TTIP and created an advisory forum where trade unionists could comment on these texts.

“While the EU needs to extend this process to all to apply to all trade agreements, there is now momentum in the right direction.

“And because the TUC will still be part of the European TUC after Brexit, UK trade unions will be able to continue to influence EU discussions on trade, even outside the EU.”

The post goes on to say unions can’t support a deal that will threaten workers’ rights, undermine UK industry and lower standards and protections, and concludes: “The TUC and CBI agree we need a way forward now that Theresa May’s deal has been repeatedly defeated in Parliament.

“First, the government must take no deal off the table. Second, the only way to protect workers’ rights and manufacturing jobs is to agree a Brexit deal that keeps the UK in the single market and a customs union with the EU.

“Third, the TUC and trade unions across Europe want to see trade deals that protect workers’ rights, jobs and public services and promote decent pay everywhere.”

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