Let me start by echoing the warm words of the Secretary of State about Kumar Bhattacharyya. The Jaguar plant in my constituency is open, employing more than 2,000 workers, in no small way due to his herculean efforts over many years to turn around Jaguar Land Rover.
In my previous being, on behalf of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, I took the case of the Eastbourne dustmen all the way to the European Court of Justice because a Conservative Government refused to apply the acquired rights directive to 6 million public servants. We won and TUPE was extended to those 6 million public servants. In future, however, there will not be the same enforcement mechanism. The trade union movement has spoken with one voice today. Frances O’Grady said that this will not protect rights and that there is nothing to stop future Governments from tearing up the legislation. She added that no one should be “taken in” and that our rights are “still under threat.” Does the Secretary of State understand that residual concern and that, crucially, unless the Government go significantly further with regard to legally enforceable rights, not just depending on the whims of future Governments, she is right: these guarantees are worthless?