Are we workplace ready for Brexit?
Becky Wright, Director, Unions 21 / 18 September 2017
On Wednesday 28th March 2017, the government triggered Article 50 to exit the European Union, marking the start of a two year period for the UK to negotiate the terms of leaving. This event marks a serious challenge for the union movement and at TUC Congress this year, we began to start to grapple with implications (real or projected) of this decision on our economy, industries and the rights of working people.
Unions 21 asserts that good work and jobs should be the cornerstone of the UK economy and not just and aspiration. In these uncertain times, unions are best placed to act as a positive force to maintain and increase good working within the UK. With this in mind, we have begun a project called 'Getting Workplace Ready for Brexit' which seeks to highlight the importance of unions and the workforce in planning for our exit from the EU.
Externally, we began with a parliamentary event which highlighted the need for politicians and employers to work with unions, using the health unions' engagement with the Cavendish Coalition as a possible model of engagement. Our chair Sue Ferns recently wrote the need for Britain to remain open to talent despite Brexit. Why? Because as show by our recent analysis (with NIESR), we are going to be faced with a potential loss of skills in nearly every industry without EU nationals.
Internally, we'll be creating a toolkit for unions to help them assess the impact that Brexit will have on their industries, members and operations.