UK’s post-Brexit workers’ rights review ‘no longer happening’
Review has been scrapped, business secretary says.
The U.K. is abandoning a controversial review looking at how EU employment protections could be changed after Brexit, the business secretary said.
Kwasi Kwarteng — who last week confirmed rules including the EU’s directive limiting working hours to 48 per week were being looked at as part of the exercise — confirmed it was “no longer happening” in his department.
The Financial Times first reported on the existence of the review, with the opposition Labour Party describing it as an attempt to reduce standards and vowing to fight “tooth and nail” against it.
But Kwarteng told the ITV’s Robert Peston on Wednesday night: “The review is no longer happening within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). I made it very, very clear to officials in the department that we’re not interested in watering down workers’ rights.”
And he added: “I can’t have been more clear about this on a number of occasions. I’ve said repeatedly that Brexit gives us the opportunity to have higher standards and a higher growth economy and that’s what officials in the department are 100 percent focused on.”
Kwarteng’s comments come just a week after he told MPs that the review would “look at the whole range of issues relating to our EU membership and examine what we wanted to keep.”
The review sparked anger from opposition MPs and labor unions, with the Unite union saying any hit to employment standards would be a “huge mistake” amid the coronavirus pandemic.