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Don’t forget the workforce on Brexit talks – unions publish open letter to new government

Responding to calls by the CBI for government to establish a Business Brexit Taskforce, a group of leading specialist unions has called for the post-election administration to involve unions in its negotiations plans for leaving the EU.

Open letter to the new government

We agree with the CBI that the Government’s Brexit negotiations must be informed by those with daily practical insight into the needs and potential of the British economy and its key industries (CBI call for Business Brexit Taskforce, 17 May).

We should not underestimate the challenges of Brexit. Getting the best deal for the UK will mean tapping into the talents of all of us, workers as well as business leaders.

Our unions represent skilled professionals in critical areas from energy and entertainment, to healthcare and specialists working in the civil service itself. Working at the cutting edge of innovation and technological development in an increasingly interconnected world, their insight into the challenges and opportunities Brexit presents will be vital in the period ahead. Our organisations have valuable insight and experience around standards, regulation, skills and services which could be at risk if detailed consideration is not available.

So alongside the CBI’s proposal for a “Business Brexit Taskforce”, the next Government needs a plan to consult and involve employees and their representatives as well as investing in the skills and capacity of those working to deliver a successful Britain outside of the European Union.

The CBI is right that these negotiations are too important to “wing it”. But if the workers’ voices are lost, both Government and business will be flying blind.

Sue Ferns, Deputy General Secretary, Prospect; Naomi Cooke, Assistant General Secretary, FDA; Jon Skewes, Director for Policy, Employment relations and Communications, Royal College of Midwives; Christine Payne, General Secretary, Equity; Nick Cusack, Deputy Chief Executive, Professional Footballers Association