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Brexit the very real risk to women's working rights.

(74 Posts)
Tomtomato Sun 12-Jun-16 20:46:34

Brexit the very real risk to women's working rights.
I work as a Human Resources Consultant, while not an employment lawyer i do have a good understanding.
There seems to be a lot of misleading information on social media concerning Brexit or Not.
In my view the EU has done a considerable amount to improve the lives of working women (see the bottom of this post) and a lot of this is at great risk if we leave the EU.
I don't wish to tell you how to vote, but all women really need to know what they're voting for.

This is a very good summary of what's at risk

While in some instance, UK rights are better than EU rights, the EU rights underpin those rights. Employment law is very complex, which is why it is easy to confuse people. Take the EU rights away and there is nothing to stop UK rights being water-down or abolished.
Most at risk are rights for part time workers, agency workers which particularly affects women and TUPE. If you trust Gove & IDS not to privatise your hospital or academic your schools, and leave the TUPE rights along, you're a lot more trustworthy than me.

There is a meme going round on social media which proclaims the wonders of British rights, it has Union Jacks on it. Brexiters hold it to their chest like a lucky talisman, but it is misleading, confusing and fundamentally incorrect. Here a QC Sean Jones rebuts it.
If you imagine the worst case scenario of IDS, Gove and Boris, the threat of a wilful removal of hard won rights will be slashed. Please read this
Listen out every time you hear the words being competitive, or EU Red Tape, these are your rights.

Here is a summary from Institute of Personnel and Development

A significant body of employment law in the UK that derives from the EU, and over the past decades this has affected workers’ rights across the economy. For individual rights the main areas include working time and annual holidays, rights for women (for example equal pay), family friendly policies (for example pregnant workers, parental leave and so on), anti-discrimination legislation (for example equal treatment) and atypical workers (for example agency workers). For collective rights, there are three main legislative areas: collective redundancies and TUPE, European Works Councils, and information and consultation.

The Working Time Directive is one of the most high-profile elements of EU-derived law affecting employment – before it was transposed into UK law, UK workers did not have a statutory right to paid annual holiday. The directive ensured that all workers should be entitled to at least 20 days of paid annual holiday, but the UK government increased this entitlement to 28 days including bank holidays. However, one of the other main provisions – that a worker’s working week would be limited to 48 hours – is subject to an opt out in the UK.

One of the most important areas of employment rights affected by European legislation is the equal treatment rights of what are often termed “atypical workers” in Brussels. This includes equal treatment for part-time workers, those on fixed-term contracts and temporary agency workers in terms of pay and basic conditions of employment. The latter came into force through the Temporary Agency Workers Directive, although the equal treatment provision regarding pay only applies to UK temporary agency workers after 13 weeks as opposed to the first day as stated in the Directive. It is likely that many UK workers who are agency workers or who work part-time in the public sector are directly affected by this legislation from the EU.

Typically, European law is initiated in Brussels through directives and, once agreed, transposed into national legislation across all of the member states. EU-derived law has been incorporated into UK law using a range of legal approaches including secondary legislation under the European Communities Act 1972 (for example TUPE) as well as through acts of Parliament (for example, the Equality Act).

concertplayer Sun 12-Jun-16 21:19:42

I totally agree. I would add that the Eu is very good on a whole range of
equal rights not just women's and/or workers.
In some EU countries workers enjoy rights that we can only imagine.
HOWEVER, this may not continue In France the current Socialist government is legislating to give employers more flexibility as it is very
hard to get rid of a minority of staff who just should not be in their job
anymore. It sounds harsh but they have 10% unemployment. For a socialist govt to do this is of course quite amazing.
In Germany union officials are on Boards of Directors of large companies. It makes sense and they are still a great industrial powerhouse.

BusStopBetty Sun 12-Jun-16 21:25:12

Employment rights are one reasons I'll be voting in.

Twenty years ago that I wasn't entitled to any paid holiday as a part time worker. I do believe I also got paid less than the full time staff.

AveEldon Sun 12-Jun-16 21:26:33

Sorry but our equal pay act was passed in 1970 prior to us joining the EU

namechangeparents Sun 12-Jun-16 21:34:53

our equal pay act was passed in 1970 prior to us joining the EU

Yes that is true. But most current employment rights are underpinned by EU law, eg working time.

Our current government has given with one hand and taken away with the other - eg introducing paternity leave while making employment tribunal fees prohibitively high. A right-wing Tory government will do its best to remove employment rights but as long as we have the EU framework, there is a limit to how far they can go.

BusStopBetty Sun 12-Jun-16 21:55:55

Indeed. 'We'll see the workers right', said no Tory, ever.

LittleMissBossyBoots Sun 12-Jun-16 22:08:27

Sorry but our equal pay act was passed in 1970 prior to us joining the EU

It was passed because of the EU. Britain wanted to join and had to bring it in in order to do so.

caroldecker Sun 12-Jun-16 22:31:30

It was passed because of Dagenham and Union strikes. It would have been part of joining the EU, but was in place beforehand.
The Conservatives have introduced pensions for workers, paid for by employers, and it was Labour who destroyed defined benefit schemes with his pension tax grab.

Tomtomato Sun 12-Jun-16 23:39:20

Re Equal Pay I quote from Sean Jones QC Employment Lawyer, which I'm sure you read.
Should we pat ourselves on the back for having legislated for equal pay before even joining the EEC? In short, no.
The right to equal pay was enshrined in Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome itself, which was signed in … 1957. That meant that we were going to have to legislate if we wanted to join.
Although the Equal Pay Act was enacted in 1970, it was not in force in 1973 when the UK joined the EEC. In fact, it did not come into force until December 1975. By then the Equal Pay Directive 75/117/EEC was in place. It required a substantial broadening of the right so that it covered cases where men and women were performing work of equal value. Again, Europe enhanced the rights of UK workers.
A number of subsequent decisions identified respects in which the Domestic legislation had failed properly to implement the European right. One example was the fact that the 1970 Act limited back pay claim to two years. That was held to be inconsistent with European Law and extended to 6 years.

caroldecker Mon 13-Jun-16 00:55:36

This then accepts that the UK law was incompatible with UK law, so the UK law was passed without reference to the EU

AnnaForbes Mon 13-Jun-16 01:16:34

Maternity pay in EU law is 14 weeks, in UK law it is 52.

The EU doesnt specify minimum pay for maternity leave . In UK it is 90% for first 6 weeks then £140 for next 33 weeks.

Our Equal Pay, Sex Discrimination and Racial Discrimination Acts predate EU.

Our minimum wage is one of best in world. 10 of the 28 EU countries dont even have a minimum wage.

Corbyn has spoken in the past about how the EU trashes the rights of workers. Sadly, he is now a pro-EU quisling.

For evidence of the EU protecting workers rights, see Greece.

Out2pasture Mon 13-Jun-16 01:46:36

i see the uk at a greater risk (if they stay) of having all it's woman's and workers rights eroded to equalize with the rest of the eu. equalizing the uk to be the same as the lowest off all the other member countries would then prevent the need to migrate.

EBearhug Mon 13-Jun-16 01:51:24

There's already been quite a bit of erosion of workers' rights in 2014, like the changes to tribunals.

Shariamom Mon 13-Jun-16 02:53:23

Why on earth would a BREXIT lead to erosion in women's rights?
No one is campaigning for that.
The recent governments have been aiming for equal rights for everyone. Leaving the EU isn't going to change that.
Some people seriously need to step away from the project fear kool-aid!!!

Y0uCann0tBeSer10us Mon 13-Jun-16 08:18:01

Leaving the EU won't be a bonfire of worker's rights, which already far exceed the EU minimum in the UK.

To remove such rights would require a change in the law, and any government that did so would pretty much guarantee they wouldn't be re-elected. The UK government, unlike the EU, is accountable to the people.

QueenLaBeefah Mon 13-Jun-16 08:22:19

Every job I have had for the past 15yrs has had a clause in the contract that I wish to opt out of the EU working time directive. (I didn't wish to as it happens but being unemployed didn't appeal).

branofthemist Mon 13-Jun-16 08:32:09

So are you saying the government will scrap workers rights if we leave the EU?

Millyonthefloss Mon 13-Jun-16 08:42:21

Sorry but our equal pay act was passed in 1970 prior to us joining the EU.

This ^ ^

Do you think sensible women like Gisela Stuart, Andrea Leadsom or Jenny Jones of the Green Party would be voting Leave if they thought it threatened womens' rights? The OP's post is blatant Remain scaremongering as bad as "vote for us or we'll cut your pensions".

peachpudding Mon 13-Jun-16 10:22:39

I will be voting leave as I think it will help business and we will get more employment rights, NOT less.

Tomtomato Mon 13-Jun-16 12:17:41

It saddens me to see people parroting the post on social media, the one covered in Union Jacks. That post was written with the intention of appealing to peoples’ patriotism, their belief in GREAT BRITISH rights. It was also written, I suspect to confuse, if not to deceive; IT is WRONG.
Link here written by a QC in employment law, as to why it is WRONG
Employment law is extremely complex and intertwined, it is easy to confuse the gullible. You may believe it will protect you like some lucky charm, because you want to believe it.

It was this that promoted me to attempt to explain the reality, which I have tried to lay out in my post. If you take the take to read my post, it could help you to actually understand what you are actually voting for. In my view this is a dangerous eroding of employee / workers’ rights, especially those that will hurt women. Now add in predicted and very, very likely high unemployment, which also hurts women most. If you work part time, via an agency, work flexibly or somewhere that could be sold, or privatised you need to be very concerned, or at the very least aware of the risks, don’t you think?
The Brexit campaign is bankrolled by Aaron Banks who wants to privatise the NHS, and Peter Hargreaves who is on record that he wants to scrap maternity benefits. And yes let us put our trust in Ian Duncan Smith to improve employee rights, despite his repeated statements that the UK needs to become more competitive.

purits Mon 13-Jun-16 12:24:12

"Brexit the very real risk to women's working rights."

Absolute bollocks. You might as well say "Remain: the very real risk that we will turn communist".
Scaremongering Project Fear again. hmm

purits Mon 13-Jun-16 12:27:47

it is easy to confuse the gullible.

haha. you said it. That's what Project Fear is.

very, very likely high unemployment

Is that the unemployment in the EU that you are talking about? Their unemployment is already staggeringly high, unlike ours. They are in no position to talk.

AdoraBell Mon 13-Jun-16 12:42:48

Marking place , thanks for the llinks OP

Winterbiscuit Mon 13-Jun-16 14:16:42

As others have pointed out, many working rights have arisen in the UK before the EU or regardless of the EU. There's no guarantee that the EU will always protect women's rights, particularly as the far right are on the rise. Even though we've got the Tories until the next general election, it wouldn't be at all in their interests to remove women's rights. And there are far more women in politics these days.

branofthemist Mon 13-Jun-16 14:29:16

Employment law is extremely complex and intertwined, it is easy to confuse the gullible. You may believe it will protect you like some lucky charm, because you want to believe it.

This attitude that seems so common in the remain campaign, is really off putting. Essentially it is 'unless you believe the remain camp, you are think or gullible and easily confused'

It alienates voters and makes the remain camp sound like a bunch of tossers that can only bully people into voting for them. 'Vote remain or be seen as thick, racist etc'

It happened with labour in the last election. It happened with the rise for brexit after the debate.

Again, we don't have to lose any rights we already have. Are you saying the government will scrap workers rights of we leave and that the only thing keeping them in place is the EU?

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