During the election campaign Boris Johnson and the rest of his team promised that there were no plans to meddle with the rights of Working people. My own local candidate, now tory MP for Workington, Mark Jenkinson went
on record at the local hustings explaining that there were no plans to reduce workers rights in the event of a tory majority. I’m afraid I wasn’t convinced.
The October withdrawal bill, the one that Boris withdrew because parliament wanted time to scrutinise it (and refused to let it pass without such scrutiny) included such protections. That’s the one the EU had agreed to in principle, assuming that it gained the consent of the house – a consent that could only come if parliament was allowed time to consider it in sufficient detail.
After the election Johnson has an 80 seat majority with many of his MPs new to the chamber, unsure of their position and presumably not sufficiently brave to stand up to Boris’ whips even if they wanted to. This means he can do what he likes, with or without parliamentary scrutiny and so…
The December version of the withdrawal bill lacks the appropriate clauses about maintaining working peoples’ rights. Michael Gove, long time opponent of anything that stands in the way of large multinationals exploiting their workers has reassured us that everything will be OK because rights will be considered separately at some unspecified later date. The excuse is that they don’t want to complicate the road to Brexit so they’ll sort the rights part out later. Oh really?
Needless to say Mr. Jenkinson, newly elected MP for Workington voted in favour of the revised withdrawal bill and its implications for workers and Europeans despite the lack of time for proper scrutiny.
Now remember that the previous deal which included workers’ rights has already been agreed by the EU. Boris could pass whatever bill he likes in this new parliament so what could possibly be so difficult about workers’ rights that they need to be removed to let the bill carry through the house? That just doesn’t make sense.
In fact the opposite is true. It is precisely because of the changes to the October version of the bill, particularly relating to working peoples’ rights and the rights of EU citizens that the EU may not ratify this new version after all. Far from making the road to Brexit easier, abandoning workers’ and EU citizens’ rights is actually making it more complicated – and we all know where that can lead.
So what’s the real reason for the removal of working peoples’ rights?
Well? What do you think?