Worker's Paid Holidays Under Threat As Johnson And Gove Urge
Brexit Ending Of WTD

* enforced overtime * No paid annual leave

During the EU referendum last year (2016), majority of Brexit MPs, including those of Labour, denied that the Tories would slash workers rights and repeated the lies from Theresa May that worker's rights will be safe as part of a Brexit deal.

Pic: TUC Petition - click to signThey denied threats to paid holidays for workers and forced overtime existed from Brexit and accused those raising these issues as 'scaremongering'.

Now, a ministerial plot to scrap the Working Time Directive in the UK reported today (Sunday 17th December) could deny paid holidays to millions of workers, and make long working weeks the norm, the TUC claim.

The Sunday Times and Sun both report plans by ministers – including Michael Gove and Boris Johnson – to scrap the Working Time Directive after Brexit.

Whilst both papers claim it will allow British workers to be free from 'EU shackles' and work as much overtime as they want, the truth is that low pay and contracts which make overtime working non-negotiable will in fact FORCE workers to do overtime; adding further to the workplace stress and maintain the current trend towards the destruction of family life in this country!

The TUC press release today continues:

Losing the protections of the directive means that:

  • 7 million workers could lose rights to paid holidays – 4.7 million of them women, and many on zero-hours or part-time contracts
  • Even more workers could be forced by bosses to work weeks longer than 48 hours.
  • Workers could lose the right to lunch and rest breaks.
  • Night workers could lose some health and safety protections.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

Pic: Frances O'Grady“This is a straight-up attack on our rights at work. Millions could lose their paid holidays, and be forced to work ridiculously long hours.

The Working Time Directive gave nearly five million women paid holidays for the first time. No-one voted for Brexit to lose out on holidays, or to hand power over to bad bosses.

The Prime Minister promised that our working rights would be protected after Brexit. Now we will see if she can keep her word, or if she is a hostage to extremists in her own cabinet.”

The TUC has also alerted us to the threat to paid holidays that a Tory post-Brexit government poses as they continue to attack workers rights with the aim of making the UK labour legislation match that of the the US!

When the Working Time Directive was first introduced into UK legislation, millions of workers were given the right to paid holidays for the very first time, and the right not to be forced by contractual obligations to work overtime whenever their employer demanded it.

Overtime is one of the key methods used by employers to keep wages low and staffing levels low too as people are forced to work longer hours and to increase their productivity as a result whilst still getting low pay.

If the WTD is scrapped from UK law, as demanded by Brexiteers, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, 7 million workers (4.7 million of them women, and many on zero-hours or part-time contracts); will lose paid holiday entitlements. And you can bet your life that this will happen as the low wage economic model receives a boost to the profits of companies, small and large.

Pic: TUC says yes to worker's rightsThose in work and paying taxes will continue to support the low wage economy through the need for social security payments to top up wages impossible to live on!

Furthermore, workers will lose guaranteed paid lunch and rest breaks, and night working protections, not to mention being forced to work more than 48 hours per week as contracts are amended to take in employers new rights to force workers to forgo their family lives in order to ensure increased profits for employers in the UK who are happy to go back to the 1700s when workers had no rights whatsoever!

The TUC's Going To Work campaign website has now added a petition to Theresa May reminding her of her promises to British workers not to repeal worker's rights and demand she puts a strop to these extreme right wing Brexiteers' aims.

Whilst they will no doubt say that workers had holiday rights before the EU, they were not the same - the Working Time Directive gave nearly 5 million women paid holidays for the first time!

As the TUC says: If [Theresa May] won’t stick to her promises now, millions will find work less worker-friendly after Brexit. And it’ll open the floodgates for the hard-brexiteers to cut back even more of our employment rights as they seek to make Britain a low regulation tax haven.

You an sign the petition by clicking on the petition pic top opf the page right.

The figure of 7 million workers is taken from TUC labour market analysis in April 2016

Source: C Ingram / TUC / Sunday Times 


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