UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis will urge the government to consult trade unions throughout negotiations to leave the European Union, when he meets Brexit secretary David Davis this afternoon.
Mr Prentis will seek assurances of “full transparency” during negotiations and “regular, structured consultation” with unions.
He will also raise a number of issues that concern UNISON and its members, including the right to remain for existing EU workers, who are critical to maintaining quality health and social care services.
Once Article 50 is invoked, the UK government will be involved in twin-track negotiations with Brussels – on the specific terms and conditions of Brexit and on a future trading relationship with the EU.
“UNISON wants any new agreement between the EU and the UK to be an outstanding example of a fair trade deal, which will likely form the model for all future trade agreements,” Mr Prentis said.
“It must be one that protects and improves public services, citizens’ and workers’ rights, the environment and health and safety.
“It’s of paramount concern for UNISON members that the government retains full, existing EU employment rights and protections for public sector workers, including TUPE, and other workplace rights such as health and safety and consultation on redundancies.
“Any new EU-UK agreement should also provide a mechanism to include any advances in employment law, such as the proposed EU Pillar of Social Rights.
“It is essential that the government gives a clear commitment that it will respect existing EU employment law, ILO core conventions and the ILO Decent Work Agenda, as well as a mechanism for enforcing compliance.”
Other key questions Mr Prentis hopes to raise in today’s discussion include:
- will the terms and conditions the government is negotiating for the UK to access the single market include free labour movement;
- will there be extra funding for public services, including the £350 million a week for the NHS promised by the Leave campaign;
- will public services be excluded from future trade deals including CETA and TTIP;
- will the UK still have recourse to the European Court of Justice and, if not, how will case law be dealt with in the UK?