Brexit and what it means

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The country has spoken. The decision has been made, so is exit from the EU inevitable?

People voted in a show of protest about successive governments ignoring hardworking people, allowing employers to drive wages down through abuse of migrant labour, zero hour contracts and stability of employment.

Disabled people have been and continue to be treated as second class citizens.

Migration was blamed for housing shortages, education and NHS waiting lists when the truth is that no council houses have been built in over 20 years.  The NHS and education have been starved of cash and social care funding has been ignored.

The Brexit leaders, in the name of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage, Chris Grayling and others have spent their time since the vote was announced on Friday the 24th, denying all the false promises they made, like £350 million a week to the NHS to name but one.  They really don’t have an exit plan other than to say nothing will change. That being the case, what were they bleating on about?

The country is divided, hatred being preached and never before has the UK been in such economic turmoil.

But things have changed:

  • UK sterling has fallen by 12%.
  • Pension valuations have fallen by around 20%.
  • Investment in the UK has been frozen.
  • £250 billion of taxpayers’ money used to prop up bankers (they win again) and more promised.
  • The Bank of England has now started QUANTITATIVE EASING. That means printing billions of pounds of money to prop the economy in order to keep inflation low that will cause the pound to plunge even further and will create an economic debt for years to come. The winners will be the multi-millionaires.
  • Holidays more expensive.
  • Petrol prices rising.
  • Company shares have fallen by £1.2 billion.

Enough of that.

As the Brexit negotiations start, so will the demise of employment rights provided by the EU and the working man and woman will be the losers.

So what goes?

  • TUPE protection
  • Working Time Regulations
  • Contractual Rights (Acquired Rights Directive)
  • Health and Safety
  • Environmental protection
  • Agency Workers Protection
  • Maternity leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Threats to the NHS and pensions

The GMB must be proactive in protecting our members and we must now begin a process whereby we seek to persuade employers to enshrine the good EU legislation into local and national agreements. This will give members an element of employment protection and protect companies from hostile takeovers.

My belief is that those who misled voters into Brexit don’t have any idea what to do next and are trying to cobble together something that will look credible.  But with Scotland doing all they can to remain in the EU and the prospects of the borders being erected in Ireland between the North and South, which in itself will breed sectarianism and violence,  don’t be surprised if Brexit will be scrapped.

With political parties tearing themselves apart, working people are already turning to the GMB and the trade union movement to do what they have always done in the face of adversity and that is to lead the charge to protect our members, their families and communities.  We in the GMB will face up to that challenge and we will organise to protect the most vulnerable in society – yes those workers who create the nation’s wealth and keep our public services running.

The GMB must remain focused on our purpose and that is to organise and protect working people and their families.

Paul Maloney

Regional Secretary