TUC General Secretary to meet with cross-party leaders to set out Brexit concerns

The TUC’s General Secretary has accepted an invitation to speak to a group of cross-party opposition leaders about the TUC’s position on Brexit.

Frances O’Grady will meet with the Westminster leaders of the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party to discuss the need for a Brexit that protects workers’ rights, jobs and livelihoods of millions of people across the UK.

The General Secretary will also set out why the TUC believes that single market membership and customs union should be on the table for the next phase of Brexit negotiations.

The meeting is set to take place in Westminster on Tuesday morning.

The Westminster opposition leaders have welcomed the meeting with the TUC, which has been at the forefront in campaigning against the dangers of a hard Brexit, protecting workers’ rights and guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens working in the UK.

The TUC has launched a campaign putting pressure on Theresa May to protect the Working Time Directive – which safeguards the rights of more than 7 million workers to paid holidays, breaks and working hours.

Opposition parties have repeatedly raised concerns of the dangers of a hard Brexit and stated that securing continued single market and customs union access must be a priority for the UK government in order to protect the UK’s economy, labour market and businesses.

The UK government’s leaked economic analysis revealed that under the three likely scenarios of the Brexit negotiations, remaining in the single market and customs union is the least damaging option.

At the TUC’s annual congress in September last year, Frances O’Grady said that the best current option for working people in the face of Brexit is “staying in the single market and customs union”.

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable MP, said:

The TUC has been an effective and welcome voice in challenging the Conservatives’ attempts to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union. I look forward to seeing Frances this week.

There is a growing strength in the movement to avert the worst possible form of Brexit. Membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union is vital to protect jobs, the Good Friday Agreement and Britain’s future prosperity.

SNP Westminster Leader, Ian Blackford MP, said:

I am delighted that the TUC’s General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, has agreed to meet with cross-party opposition leaders to discuss the serious concerns that Brexit will have on workers’ and citizens’ rights, jobs and livelihoods of millions of people.

Time is running out for Theresa May to heed her government’s own economic analysis warning of the economic dangers of Brexit, opposition party’s consistent calls to remain in the single market and customs union, and organisations – like the TUC – concerns on safeguarding the rights of millions of workers.

Plaid Cymru’s leader in Westminster, Liz Saville Roberts MP, said:

Tearing apart our economic links with the continent after Brexit will cause severe damage to our economy, our businesses and our citizens.

We must make every case for staying in both the single market and the customs union and the TUC’s input on their importance to jobs, wages and workers’ rights will be invaluable.

Green Party Co-Leader, Caroline Lucas MP, said:

The TUC recognise the perils of an extreme Brexit – and it’s quite right that we’ll be discussing together how to best protect workers in this country.

There is a growing political alliance around staying in the customs union and single market to avoid the worst effects of Brexit, and it’s imperative that the voice of millions of workers should be heard in these negotiations. For workers to really have control of the Brexit process, they should also be given a final say on the terms of any deal through a referendum.

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  • Peter Martin 5th Mar '18 - 8:55am

    Yet another in a long list of Brexit articles. Brexit, of course, in Britain’s exit from the EU.

    What about an article on the EU itself? It has its good points and its not so good points. Those who are so much in favour of Britain’s membership of the EU surely must have something to say about the EU apart from what we can get out out of it for ourselves or how difficult getting out of it is going to be for others.

    So maybe an article on the EU without mention of the word Brexit ?

  • David Becket 5th Mar '18 - 9:34am

    I agree with Peter. We need to promote the positive aspects of the EU and the areas where we want to see change. We need to be talking to our fellow Liberals in Europe to see how change can be achieved, and we also need to highlight how many of the issues were caused by UK implementation of EU rules

  • John Marriott 5th Mar '18 - 10:13am

    “The EU is utopia. Long live the EU!” Back in 1971 my wife and I, having ‘emigrated’ to Alberta, Canada, the year before, were on a camping holiday on the US West Coast. The Vietnam War was polarising the country at the time and everywhere we saw large bumper stickers, which read “My Country, right or wrong”. That’s the Americans for you, patriotic to the last. That’s perhaps why Trump has done so well.

    Don’t you think that, in some ways, thanks the attitude the pro EU camp has taken over the years that’s how the supporters of the EU view their project? Whilst I’d still rather be in the tent ‘looking out’, that doesn’t mean that I like everything around me. It’s OK to talk to “our fellow Liberals in Europe” as David Becket suggested, but don’t they also subscribe to the slogan “My (EU) right or wrong”. It might sound like heresy to some ‘Liberals’; but talking to some of the parties representing Eastern Europe and Scandinavia might just be as productive.

  • Nonconformistradical 5th Mar '18 - 10:18am

    ‘“My Country, right or wrong”. That’s the Americans for you, patriotic to the last.’

    And woefully ignorant of the rest of the planet……?

  • Arnold Kiel 6th Mar '18 - 10:21am

    The real target of this speech is Labour. It is rather unusual that the TUC is better alined with three other parties, and will make many Labour MPs and members think again about their anti-single market stance.

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