I’m sure that you’ve picked up some commentary about “The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill”, which was introduced to Parliament on 22 September 2022.
This is a key element of the UK Government’s post-Brexit agenda and affects a huge amount of the British statute book.
Our most immediate concerns, as a union, will always be around issues like working time, health and safety, and ‘equalities’ protections. Women workers in particular could find it a lot harder to bring equal pay cases, and some important parental rights protections be lost.
Workers in precarious and insecure work have the most to lose here as weak and unenforceable laws always hit those workers the hardest. The TUC has identified specific protections that workers have that may be at risk, including….
- Holiday pay
- Agency worker rights
- Data protection rights
- Protections of terms and conditions for workers whose employment is transferred to another employer
- Collective consultation with worker representatives when redundancies are proposed
- Protection of pregnant workers, and rights to maternity and parental leave
- Protection of part-time and fixed-term workers
- Rights relating to working time, including rights to daily and weekly rest, maximum weekly working time, paid annual leave and measures to protect night workers
- Protection of workers’ rights on the insolvency of their employer
- Rights to a written statement of terms and conditions
Unions will also expect to spend much more time contesting government positions around what is/is not legal.
The TUC has prepared a briefing that covers the many direct implications of the bill – I hope this is useful to you.
Members may also be concerned about the bigger constitutional principles that are at stake, as it also challenges a great deal of the custom and practice around how the government relates to Parliament.
It’s certainly a strange definition of ‘taking back control’ when a government proposes to allow Ministers to use their discretion about what many parts of our future legislative framework should be. Quoting from The Hansard Society:
“The Bill offers broad new powers to Ministers, including the ability to revoke and replace Retained EU Law (REUL) with ‘alternative provision’ they consider ‘appropriate’. It reduces parliamentary oversight in some areas by expanding the scope of existing powers, while also providing for enhanced parliamentary scrutiny procedures in others.”