Workers’ rights developed over the past 50 years will be risked by contentious post-Brexit legislation, a union leader has warned.
The UK Government’s Retained EU Law Bill demands government departments ditch or reform all EU-derived laws – around 4,000 pieces of legislation – which stayed on the statute book after Brexit by the end of this year.
Scottish ministers, already at loggerheads with the UK Government over gender ID legislation, claim the bill undermines devolution.
The legislative onslaught on EU law, championed by Jacob Rees-Mogg when he was in government, will scrap workers’ rights such as paid leave and limits on working times unless ministers choose to retain them. The bill was passed by 59 votes at its third reading stage in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
STUC general secretary Roz Foyer: “The Bill undermines any protections the EU offered workers and now places workplace standards on health, safety and working time allowances in the hands of UK government ministers.
“This is yet again an unmitigated attack on working people and trade unions’ ability to bargain for better working conditions.”
Nature groups also warn the bill could pose a danger to the environment by scrapping up to 1,000 EU regulations, including water and air quality and nature and wildlife protection.
Jo Pike, Scottish Wildlife Trust chief executive said: “Scotland’s natural environment, with its incredible diversity of species is already facing unprecedented pressures from a range of threats such as habitat loss, pollution and climate change.”
Dr Liz Cameron, Scottish Chambers of Commerce CEO, said: “Businesses don’t want to see divergence from EU regulations just for the sake of it, or which makes it more difficult, costly or impossible to export goods and services.”
The National Farmers’ Union in Scotland said the bill added to business uncertainty for the farming sector.
Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson acccused the UK government of rowing back on rights held by Scots for nearly 50 years.
He said: “This bill undermines and damages devolution, with UK Ministers able to act in areas of devolved responsibility without consent, while sidelining any parliamentary scrutiny across the UK.”
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