Speaking after his meeting with Theresa May in Downing Street this morning, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
“As the UK’s biggest union we have a duty to speak up for 1.3 million public service employees and for working people everywhere.
“A ‘no-deal’ Brexit must be avoided at all costs, and the Prime Minister needs to rule this out immediately.
“Crashing out of Europe would be catastrophic for the economy, public services and everyone who works in our schools, hospitals, town halls and police forces.
“However people voted in June 2016, no-one – especially those who are just about managing – was choosing to be worse off.
“The country is desperate for politicians to find a solution to the deadlock paralysing the country.
“The Prime Minister should be looking to build consensus and putting the interests of the country first, not simply trying to please those who won’t suffer the consequences of a no deal.
“A customs union would solve the issues with Northern Ireland, protect the Good Friday Agreement and allow the UK to keep close links to its biggest trading partner.
“Employment rights must be protected and keep pace with any developments in Europe.
“But with precious little time on the clock, an extension of Article 50 is essential to bring the country back from the brink and the calamity of a no-deal.”
Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.