A previously planned review of workers’ rights post-Brexit has been scrapped by Kwasi Kwarteng, the new UK business secretary.
Union leaders and Labour MPs had opposed the review, which they feared could have resulted in a dismantling of numerous workers’ protections, including the 48-hour week and overtime pay.
However, Kwarteng told ITV News that “the review is no longer happening”, before confirming in the Commons that “there is no plan to reduce workers’ rights”.
A statement from Downing Street on the situation added: “Any reforms would not come at the expense of the UK’s high standards in areas like workers rights and the environment.”
Yet, the move has been considered a U-turn on a move that’s very consideration has proved worrying to those who feel it would result in the erosion of employment rights.
Ed Miliband, shadow business secretary, told MPs on Thursday (28 January) that while the government has backed down, it does not take away from the fact it “spent weeks examining whether to scrap existing workers’ rights”.
He added: “The truth is, and of course I welcome this, that they’ve been forced to climb down today because of the outcry.
“But this does not merit a pat on the back. The very fact that they were considering taking away vital rights to 40-hour limits, on workers’ rights for nurses, ambulance drivers, lorry drivers, supermarket delivery drivers speaks volumes.”