Leaving the Eu: Protection for Workers

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:53 pm on 6th March 2019.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 1:53 pm, 6th March 2019

On the good work plan, we will be introducing an employment Bill and it will of course be amendable, in the manner of legislation. We are provided, though, with a more immediate opportunity: that Bill is for the next Session, whereas I very much hope that the withdrawal Bill will be available during the weeks ahead and provide that immediate opportunity to express our determination to apply the commitment that the Prime Minister made on this issue.

The hon. Gentleman mentions the measures on the gig economy that are being contemplated by the European Union. Actually, that is a fine example of what I said earlier: those measures follow the commitments that we have made in the good work plan, and they are now making their way through Brussels. We were in advance of that. As I made clear in my statement, both those EU directives would go through the procedure that I described and would be available to the House, if Members thought there was anything extra in them. Actually, though, we think the directives are in many respects modelled on our own proposals.

On the ability of this House to enforce high standards, I say that that been the tradition. My experience as a Minister at European Councils over recent years is that our record of high standards when it comes to workers’ rights, employment protection and health and safety is looked at with admiration by many of our counterparts across the European Union. This allows us to continue that leadership.