Brexiteer Conservative MPs have lashed out at trade unions for scaremongering after claiming protections for workers will ‘disappear overnight” under Government plans. Union bosses claimed protections such as paternity leave and 20 days of holiday a year were set to be scrapped.
The guarantees were first introduced via EU legislation when Britain was still a member of the EU and now must be transferred into UK law.
The Government has introduced the retained EU law (revocation and reform) bill that requires the review of legislation first imposed on the Government by Brussels that still have special status.
In a bid to ditch unnecessary bureaucratic rules a “sunset clause” means that all remaining EU laws will cease to exist beyond December 31 2023 unless actively saved by ministers.
Yesterday union representatives claimed protections “would no longer survive”.
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Shantha David, head of legal services at Unison, told a parliamentary committee: “Given the lack of information we have, it’s unclear what will survive and what will face the chop.”
Meanwhile, Tim Sharpe, senior policy officer for employment rights at the Trades Union Congress, claimed the Government’s plans were “great news for bad bosses”.
Hitting back, business minister Nusrat Ghani accused the union representatives of unnecessarily stoking up panic.
She said: “I’m anxious about this constant speculation and the fear that it’s creating.”
The Wealden MP also highlighted that Britain had been at the forefront of introducing workers’ rights such as paternity leave and paid time off for bereavement.
Senior Brexiteer Tory backbenchers Marcus Fysh and David Jones also criticised the arguments made by unions.
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Mr Fysh said: “I’m quite sure that the government and its ministers will be very keen to make sure that people’s rights are preserved.
“I can’t personally imagine a scenario in which they wouldn’t be very careful about those things.”
Mr Jones added: “There is no way the government would scrap these rights you are talking about.”
Yesterday it emerged Government researchers had found an attentional 1,400 laws from Brussels which need to be reviewed if the retained EU law bill passes through Parliament.
The extra laws come on top of the 2,400 rules already up for review.
A Government spokesman said: “The process of identifying and recording EU-derived legislation is an ongoing process and an essential exercise in accelerating regulatory reform and reclaiming the UK statute book.
“The Government’s record of legislation will be refined over time, as more retained EU legislation is repealed, replaced, or identified.”
Critics have argued the extra laws mean next year’s deadline for reviewing all EU legislation should now be ditched.