British and European trade unions stand together to defend workers' rights through Brexit

European and British trade unions will work closely together through Brexit to defend the interests and rights of workers on both sides of the Channel.

Speaking at TUC Congress in Brighton today, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini, will say “we will fight to make certain that workers’ interests, both in the UK and in Europe, are not damaged by Brexit – and to ensure that trade unions are involved in the negotiations.”

He will warn “It is very likely that political and business elites will try to keep all the advantages that come from the EU for themselves, while doing all they can to weaken social protection and workers’ rights.” 

On behalf of European trade unions, Luca Visentini will also

  • Inform delegates that the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has assured him that trade unions will be consulted by the EU on Brexit negotiations, and say the European trade union movement expected the British Government to do the same with the TUC;  
  • Tell Congress that the TUC will remain part of the ETUC regardless of the final relationship between the UK and the EU;
  • Applaud the TUC’s campaign for EU workers right to remain, and pledge to press EU Governments to give British citizens the right continue to live and work in the EU after Brexit;
  • Argue that the proposed ‘Pillar of Social Rights’ being promoted by Jean-Claude Juncker should apply across the EU, and not just to the Eurozone, and that the UK should also join this initiative;
  • Express concern the EU is at risk of collapsing if it does not increase public investment in jobs and growth, recommend pay rises to increase standards of living for all and tackle inequality, stamp out abuses including zero-hour contracts.

On Brexit negotiations, Visentini will say “We have been assured by the President of the European Commission that the ETUC will be properly consulted, and we expect the British government to do the same with the TUC.”

We warmly welcome the TUC’s campaign to maintain the rights of continental European workers here in the UK” Luca Visentini will say. “Similarly, the ETUC will call on EU governments to give British citizens abroad the right to remain.”