Len McCluskey: Why Unite will reject Theresa May’s Brexit Fudge

From the off Unite recognised the Brexit vote – and the truth that no one voted to hand the Tories a blank cheque.


No one voted to lose their job or lose hard won rights.

How Brexit happens is the most vital question.

The message from Unite members has always been clear.

As we leave the EU we must leave with a deal and that deal must protect jobs, defend and advance our rights and support the radical political and economic programme we are campaigning for.

That means a Brexit which does not threaten the gains our members fight for and defend at work.

It means a Brexit which does not leave us worse off as a country.

Unite has not stood idly by.

For the last two years we have analysed how Brexit will impact every one of our sectors, we have held reps conferences to canvass the views of members from Belfast to Bristol, from Glasgow to Gibraltar.

We have stood by frontline reps who have called out bosses seeking to use the uncertainty of Brexit in pay talks or to deny our members their rights.

We have been a guiding hand to the Labour Party, making sure their approach to Brexit answers the real needs of working people.

I believe we should all be proud of the way in which Unite has tried to tackle these issues.

Now we are approaching the crunch time.

What will a Tory Brexit deal look like?

Can we support it?

The deal will most likely be based on the shambolic Chequers Agreement.

The Chequers Agreement’s one and only aim is keep the Tory party together with no thought for the serious issues a deal needs to prevent.

Our members in services will ask: how can the deal protect jobs if it doesn’t cover 80 per cent of the economy?

Our members in road haulage will ask: how can it prevent chaos at border ports without a customs deal?

Our members in Ireland and Gibraltar will ask: how does it protect our livelihoods when it comes with no guarantees about the border?

The truth is that a shambolic negotiation will result in a shambolic deal.

Our union is built and run by seasoned negotiators and we can all recognise a fudge when we see one.

A Chequers deal will be too vague to offer the cast-iron protections our members need.

It will utterly fail to deliver on the promises of the 2016 referendum.

This leaflet outlines the tests which Unite members agreed to judge a deal.

Bluntly, Theresa May’s Brexit fudge fails on all counts.

Based on these tests I call on all MPs to reject it when it is put to a vote in Parliament.

Politically and industrially our movement must speak with a single voice.

We must leave no option off the table to defeat it.

That means a General Election or if necessary a vote of the people.

We deserve better than a fudge deal.

We can do better.

Read about the standards Unite will use to judge any Brexit deal here.