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Legislate to ensure high standards of workers’ rights

Last updated 3 weeks ago

In parallel, we will legislate to ensure high standards of workers’ rights...

Conservative Party Manifesto 2019, p.5

Our verdict

  • This is a promise to legislate to ensure strong rights for workers “in parallel” with the Brexit transition period which ended on 31 December 2020.
  • The December 2019 Queen’s Speech promised to deliver an Employment Bill which would “protect and enhance workers’ rights as the UK leaves the EU”, but there has been no action to introduce that legislation. The government did legislate on the final day of the transition period to implement the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which ties the UK to certain standards regarding workers’ rights.
  • The level playing field elements of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement have been negotiated in such a way that enforcing workers’ rights is likely to prove extremely challenging. Things may change as the agreement is implemented and interpreted, but the transition period has ended and we cannot say that a high standard of workers’ rights is ‘ensured’, so this policy is ‘broken’.

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