Theresa May (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Working people will judge the PM’s Brexit strategy on whether it protects jobs and rights
After hearing for months that Brexit means Brexit, we may be about to hear what it actually means. As Theresa May gives her big speech to diplomats at Lancaster House on Tuesday, on how she intends to negotiate our exit from the EU, working people will be watching to see if her strategy will do anything to protect their interests.
Will it protect and promote good jobs? Will it guarantee their rights at work? And will it protect businesses from a ‘made in Britain’ tax?
We know the details of a deal can’t be laid out at the start, but we have a right to know the kind of deal she’s planning to negotiate. We’ll be judging her big speech on how she approaches three key guiding principles:
Promoting good jobs
In or out, the EU should stay as Britain’s largest trading partner, avoiding tariffs and ‘rule of origin’ bureaucracy, and allowing British businesses unhampered trade in services. The best way to protect jobs, workers’ rights, and British businesses that trade in Europe is to stay a member of the single market, avoiding tariffs and bureaucratic obstacles to the trade in goods and services that underpins so many higher paid and better skilled jobs in the UK.
Protecting workers’ rights
Britain should commit to enforcing the highest standards in Europe for employment rights as well as for consumer and environmental protections. Working people didn’t vote to lose their rights, but as well as resisting those who want us to row back on what we have, the PM must also promise to mirror new protections won by workers in the rest of Europe – British workers can’t find themselves left behind their European counterparts, becoming a bargain basement workforce.
Managing migration better
Local communities need guarantees of decent jobs and apprenticeships close to home, especially in towns and communities hit hard by previous recessions. There must be a crack-down on bad employers who use migrants to undercut wages. And the government should increase financial support to communities most affected by migration to ease pressure on their housing, schools, and health services.