Finance Expert: London needs rid of EU red tape to keep on top
A vote demanding the UK retain EU laws relating to employment rights was forced by the Opposition in Parliament after reports emerged the UK Government was looking to rip up employment protections enshrined in EU law. It was claimed Boris Johnson has ordered a review of workers rights to be conducted by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
The vote is non-binding and is largely symbolic as the Government is not obligated to act on motions put forward by the Opposition.
MPs voted in favour of keeping the EU employment laws and regulations by 263 to 0.
Speaking in the Commons shadow employment rights secretary Andy McDonald called for all existing employment rights and protections to be maintained, including the 48-hour working week.
He said: This pandemic has exposed the many deficiencies of workers’ rights protections and now there is a real yearning that when we emerge from this crisis, a better deal for working people is not only possible but essential.
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“And yes the economic position is tough, but people came back from a devastating war in 1945 determined to forge a better society for their families to prosper in.
“Such a moment, as President Biden said, of renewal and resolve is right now. At no time in living memory has it been clear that the safety and security of working people is inextricably linked with public health and the economy.”
The Labour MP added it was “shocking” the Government would even consider a review to “rip-up the hard-won rights” of working people.
Downing Street has denied there are any plans to reduce workers’ rights, including scrapping the 48-hour working week, rest breaks, or the inclusion of overtime pay when calculating some holiday pay entitlements.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said last week: “We will continue to look at policies to help and stimulate business growth, innovation and job creations but those policies would never be at the expense of workers’ rights.”
The Conservative Party added: “We have one of the best records on workers’ rights in the world – often going further than the European Union in many areas – and we are committed to building on this progress.”
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Boris Johnson order his MPs to abstain in the vote as he accused Sir Keir Starmer of using Opposition Day votes for “playing politics”.
Last week the Opposition tried to shame the Government into scrapping a plan to scrap a temporarily £20 rise in universal credit.
Ahead of that vote, the Prime Minister sent a WhatsApp to all Tory MPs saying: “Folks, I know that many of you are thirsting to give battle and vote against all Labour motions.
“But after the shameful way in which they used their army of Momentum trolls last time to misrepresent the outcome and to lie about its meaning and frankly to intimidate and threaten colleagues — especially female colleagues — I have decided not to give them that opportunity.
“We can be proud of what we are doing to tackle all the consequences of the pandemic and if Labour decides to stop playing politics and to stop inciting the worst kind of hatred and bullying (of a kind seen sadly across the Atlantic) then I may think again about legislatively vacuous opposition debates.”
Tonight Conservative MP Jane Stevenson said holding a debate on worker’s rights now was “like pouring petrol on a bonfire”.
Attacking the Labour Party for forcing the debate, she added: “The recent use of these Opposition Day Debates to fuel hate campaigns on social media has been disgraceful.
“I welcome Opposition Day Debates and I certainly welcome scrutiny of Government, but at this time of national crisis with so many people worried about their jobs, their incomes and their health it is like pouring petrol on a bonfire to have this type of aggressive, political campaigning that seeks to mislead about the views members on my side of the chamber.”
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