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[2nd day]

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:33 pm on 1st February 2017.

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Photo of Melanie Onn Melanie Onn Labour, Great Grimsby 5:33 pm, 1st February 2017

The Bill is certainly very difficult and there are lots of complex issues. I am sure that many Members on both sides of the House would appreciate having longer to discuss these issues.

New clause 9 would require the Government to produce a plan to ensure that EU workers’ rights will be maintained in United Kingdom law before withdrawal from the EU. I wonder whether we will see such a plan in tomorrow’s White Paper. New clause 10 would make provision for EU workers’ rights to continue in force in the UK on exit day, subject only to changes made by primary legislation. New schedule 1 would place in primary legislation each EU directive on workers’ rights.

The amendments are front and centre of many working people’s concerns about an increasingly unstable labour market. There are protections against discrimination, and for the rights to rest breaks, paid holiday and leave for working parents. These protections have become the accepted minimums for reasonable employers and have been woven into the fabric of the employment relationship. On the steps of Downing Street in July, the Prime Minister referred to those who have a job, but do not always have job security. They are the millions of agency workers in the care sector, the retail industry, the security industry and in our factories. They rely on these protections to enjoy the same wages and holiday entitlements as permanent workers, and in turn they get equal access to facilities, vacancies and amenities.

Some have been reassured by the Government that Brexit will not undermine workers’ rights, but the comments made by my hon. Friend Stella Creasy demonstrate that that is not the case. If it is the case, however, I look forward to my amendments being added to this Bill, if only to add just a little more detail.

Despite being on the other side of the debate, I accept that the British public voted for Brexit, but I urge the Government to recognise that they did not vote for more insecure contracts, less safe workplaces or anything less than they currently have by way of protection in their jobs.