News emerged overnight that officials on both sides have agreed the text of a draft withdrawal agreement, in which they set out the proposed terms of the UK’s relationship with the European Union (EU) post-Brexit. The Prime Minister will today (14 November 2018) seek approval on the draft from Cabinet, and later release the 500 page document to MPs. 

As the UK’s leading trade union law firm, with a commitment to representing injured and mistreated workers throughout our almost hundred-year history, Thompsons Solicitors is concerned that workers’ rights, freedoms and protections are a key component of the terms of withdrawal.

If officials have agreed the withdrawal agreement with the EU, unions and working people will want to be reassured that the government has, at the very least, fulfilled its commitments in the White Paper on the future relationship with the EU to reciprocal commitments: as to non-regression of labour standards; and to uphold obligations derived from International Labour Organisation (ILO) obligations.

EU withdrawal agreement must be scrutinised

The EU withdrawal agreement must be scrutinised to ensure that these protections are: set out clearly and precisely; in such a way as to make them directly effective and enforceable by trade unions and their members; and expressly to take precedence over any inconsistent domestic law in the same way that citizens’ rights have already been provided for in the previously agreed terms of the withdrawal agreement.

Anything less will mean that government hasn’t lived up to what it committed to do.