PM ‘fails’ to give guarantees on jobs and workers’ rights after Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May was accused of failing to guarantee jobs and workers’ rights when the UK leaves the EU after she held a series of face-to-face meetings with union leaders in Downing Street.

Theresa May was urged to delay Brexit until the summer, take a no-deal off the table and tackle the genuine concerns of workers over their jobs and rights.

The rare meetings lasted over four hours, giving union leaders the chance to lay out their priorities on behalf of millions of workers.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said she did not receive the guarantees she was seeking.

Frances O’Grady, who said she was looking for guarantees on workers' rights
Frances O’Grady, who said she was looking for guarantees on workers' rights

Workers are worried about their jobs and need reassurance about their future after the UK leaves the EU, she said.

“The Prime Minister should do the right thing and take a no-deal off the table so that genuine dialogue can take place,” she said.

Ms O’Grady added: “I was looking for guarantees on workers’ rights now and into the future.

“We have a Prime Minister on a temporary contract, she cannot bind the hands of a future prime minister.

“People wanting her job are on record as saying Brexit is an opportunity to reduce workers’ rights.

“The Prime Minister should stop listening to the bad boys at the back of the class. More time is needed for genuine talks.”

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said he hoped his first ever meeting with Theresa May was not a “PR stunt”.

Len McCluskey, who urged the Prime Minister to extend Article 50
Len McCluskey, who urged the Prime Minister to extend Article 50

He stressed that a no-deal Brexit would be “disastrous” and urged the Prime Minister to extend Article 50 beyond March 29 for three months.

Mr McCluskey said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was right to refuse to meet the Prime Minister unless she ruled out a no-deal Brexit.

The Unite leader said companies were now putting investment decisions on hold because of the ongoing uncertainty.

He added: “I cannot conceive any prime minister taking us out of Europe with a no-deal, it would be catastrophic.”

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: “A ‘no-deal’ Brexit must be avoided at all costs, and the Prime Minister needs to rule this out immediately.

Dave Prentis, right, arrives, for talks with the Government over Brexit
Dave Prentis, right, arrives, for talks with the Government over Brexit

“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.

“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.”

Tim Roache of the GMB at 10 Downing Street
Tim Roache of the GMB at 10 Downing Street

Tim Roache, general secretary of the GMB, said: “I’m afraid to say the Prime Minister failed to give us the guarantees we need over protecting jobs and rights at work.

“The concerns from members and their employers are mounting by the day as the clock runs down, and yet the Prime Minister is still refusing to take her threat of no deal off the table.

“As this crisis worsens, pretending nothing has changed is simply not good enough.”