The issue of trust in the prime minister has again come to the fore as it emerges that the Brexit deal Boris Johnson has negotiated with the EU puts UK employment and environmental standards in danger, says the leader of the UK’s leading union, Len McCluskey.
Crucially, the deal also fails to secure any form of customs union which is vital to the UK’s manufacturing sector and on which hundreds of thousands of jobs depend.
Boris Johnson’s deal proposes that the protections for workers’ rights and environmental standards are removed from the legally binding withdrawal agreement and placed instead into the political declaration, which means that they can be bargained away in future trading arrangements.
Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary, said: “With this deal, Boris Johnson has made it abundantly clear that the people he wants to please are the hard right wing of the Conservative party.
“Not only will we lose the crucial customs union arrangements supporting our manufacturing industry and hundreds of thousands of jobs in this country but by further diluting the legal protections for labour and environmental standards, the prime minister has made the laws that underpin workers’ rights and public safety extremely vulnerable in future trade deals.
“Donald Trump will be licking his lips at the prospect of him calling the shots in any potential trade arrangement with the US knowing that Boris Johnson has made it very easy for him to demand that our jobs, food standards and probably our NHS are all put on the negotiating able.
“As ever with Boris Johnson, the issue is can we trust him to act in the national interest? This deal proves that we certainly cannot trust him to protect the interests of working people and I expect that these concerns will be what ultimately means his deal should fail in parliament tomorrow.
“This is a question of the country we want to be. Do we want to have decent jobs and proper protections, as Labour envisages, or the nightmare for workers where their rights and jobs are bargained away by a Johnson government?
“The only way forward remains a general election with the return of a Labour government that will negotiate a deal with the EU which is fully committed to defending workers’ jobs and our fundamental rights.”
Notes to editors:
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s leading union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.