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Johnson's ‘reckless’ post-Brexit plans put hard-won workers' rights in the firing line, TUC warns

HARD-WON workers’ rights could be in the firing line in the government’s “reckless” post-Brexit plans, the TUC warned today.

The union organisation fears that rights such as holiday pay and gender equality could be targeted following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that he plans to dump more than 1,000 EU regulations.

It called for guarantees from Mr Johnson and the government that workers’ rights will not be among them. 

The TUC says it received a letter from Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng in February which promised that “there is no government plan to reduce workers’ rights” after the union body had called for guarantees following the start of a review into EU-retained law.

But the government’s record is littered with broken promises on its plans for workers’ rights and employment law — including failure to take action to declare bosses’ reviled fire and rehire tactic unlawful — the TUC said.

The TUC is concerned that workers’ rights at risk include, among others, holiday pay, equal pay for men and women, parental leave and equal treatment for part-time workers.

There have been reports that the government will fast-track a Bill, avoiding full Parliamentary scrutiny.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Important workers’ rights and legal principles are being put at real risk by the government’s reckless plans.

“Holiday pay, equal pay for men and women, parental leave and equal treatment for part-timers are just a few of the rights underpinned by retained EU law. These are not a ‘nice to have’ — they are essential.

“What the government proposes could see these rights removed or watered down without proper scrutiny.

“Boris Johnson promised to ‘protect and enhance’ workers’ rights after Brexit. Yet he has failed to bring forward his promised employment Bill — and now the UK risks going backwards on workers’ rights.

“It‘s time the Prime Minister stopped his empty promises and delivered the boost to workers’ rights he said he would.”

The Tories have repeatedly pledged to include a new employment Bill strengthening workers’ rights on the government’s Parliamentary agenda — then failed to do so.

A Bill was expected to be included in the most recent Queen’s Speech to Parliament on May 10 but was once again omitted.

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