Leaked papers show that the government is planning to demolish workers’ rights after Britain leaves the EU.
Unite accused prime minister Boris Johnson, who has broken his “do or die” to promise to deliver Brexit on October 31, of trying to rush through a “dodgy banger of a Brexit deal” that will reverse workers’ rights and ruin UK manufacturing.
The leaked documents, obtained by the Financial Times, say that workers’ rights and environmental commitments contained in the government’s Brexit deal leave “room for interpretation”.
Labour said Johnson’s Brexit deal is a “blueprint” for scrapping “vital rights and protections”.
The leak suggests the government thinks that it will be able to disregard pledges in its new Brexit deal to maintain a “level playing field” and find ways to erode employment rights after Britain has left the EU.
The reference to maintaining a level playing field in Johnson’s Brexit deal is contained in the political declaration rather than the legally binding withdrawal agreement.
The FT reported that the leaked document says the UK government’s interpretation of a level playing field will be “very different” from the EU’s and that the pledge is a “much more open starting point” for negotiating a trade deal in the future.
At Unite Scotland’s policy conference on Saturday (October 26), general secretary Len McCluskey said that on Brexit Johnson was acting like “dodgy used car salesman” trying to rush through the sale of a dud vehicle.
He said, “Mr Johnson, we’ve looked under the bonnet of your dodgy deal and saw that not only is the spare tyre flat but half the engine has gone. The trading arrangements underpinning the jobs of our members will be scrapped. The customs provisions we need to support just in time trade from aerospace to food manufacturing have been ripped out.
“The truth is Boris Johnson is prepared to risk hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs – the jobs of our communities – to appease a handful of rabid right-wingers. Johnson has dug his ditch but it will be our members’ jobs that die in it. I tell you now, Unite will never allow this.”
With Johnson failing to pass his Brexit deal in parliament the deadline for leaving has now being extending to January 31, 2020 by the EU.
The extension makes the chances of opposition parties agreeing to a general election within the next few weeks more likely – as long as the government rules out any chance of the UK crashing out of the EU with no deal on January 31.
Commenting on the prospect of a general election, McCluskey said, “A UK general election is coming – and when it does, it will be the fight of our lives. We will need to display every ounce of our courage and fight in the weeks and months to come.
“We are up against the most right wing government we have ever seen, with coffers packed to the rafters, awash with dodgy hedge fund cash and the majority of the media in their corner urging them on with jingoistic zeal.
“But never forget – our movement is the authentic voice for millions of people, for the communities of these lands. We are still the greatest force for social change that this country has witnessed. And we are ready for the fight.”