Brexit, British Government, Employment law, NI Protocol, Northern Ireland

Could proposed EU Gender Pay Transparency Directive apply in Northern Ireland because of the N.I. Protocol? – and, if so, how can that be done?

Gender-Pay-Gap-in-the-Events-Industry (1)Over the past week I have been organising a webinar for BEERG members on the proposed EU Directive on gender pay transparency.  The proposed Directive aims

“…to strengthen the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women through pay transparency and enforcement mechanisms”.                                                  (See the EU proposal here

While writing the webinar announcement, I noted that:

“this would be the first EU employment law Directive that, once adopted, would not apply to post-Brexit Britain.”

As I wrote this sentence a thought occurred to me: Is this entirely true? From this thought sprung two important questions:

  1. Could the new Directive apply in Northern Ireland because of the Protocol?
  2. And, if so, how could that be done?

Now, let me say straightaway that I have no idea what the answers to these two questions might be. And, I am fairly certain, nor does anyone else. That’s because we have never been here before.

Continue reading

adequacy, Brexit, British Government, Data Protection, Data transfers

The UK’s Data Dilemma

dmcs

In a speech delivered last week, John Whittingdale MP, the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Media and Data, told a conference of Privacy Laws & Business that he welcomed:

 … the European Commission’s February publication of draft data adequacy decisions for the UK, which rightly reflect our high data protection standards and paves the way for their formal approval.

The draft decisions will now be shared with the European Data Protection Board for a non-binding opinion and the European Parliament before being presented to Member States for formal approval. I urge the EU to fulfil its commitment in the agreed declaration and complete the process promptly.

Whittingdale’s comments came at the end of a speech in which he talked about the UK’s plans to use data to drive economic development. He also talked about the UK’s plans to expand the list of countries to which the UK will grant a “data adequacy” decision, which means that personal data can be seamlessly transferred to such countries from the UK.

Continue reading

Boris Johnson, Brexit, British Government, Negotiating

An analysis of how Brexit is going… 2 months in

 

DsrCrgGX4AAq716
Cartoon via Martin Shovel

Brexit will never be done.

Because it can never be done. Not for as long as the UK sits 50km off the European mainland and does 50% of its business with Europe. Not when the island of Ireland sits behind it – and the north east corner of that island is contested political ground.

Brexiteers may wish the UK was in the middle of the Pacific, as far away from Europe as possible, but that is not going to happen any time soon. Actually, it is never going to happen.

Brexit, for the Brexiteers, is a labour of Sisyphus. Just when they think they have pushed the boulder of absolute sovereignty to the top of the hill it rolls back again to the bottom requiring yet another heave to get Brexit over the line.

Continue reading

Brexit, British Government, Customs Union, Single Market

The “Brexit of Small Things” is here… to stay

EU non EU

January 31. A full month into full Brexit. The UK is now completely out of the EU, out of its political, economic, and commercial structures. In Brussels jargon, it is a “third country”. Freedom of movement between the EU and the UK is now a thing of the past. New border barriers are in place, or soon will be. People, goods, service, and data now need permissions to cross this new border.

The new border barriers have come as a shock to many in the UK who seemed to think that a “free trade agreement” between the EU and the UK would leave things much as they were before. When you have spent much of your adult life living in the open European space that the EU has created through a mesh of agreements between its member states you can easily come to assume that this open space is the natural order of things. Except that it is not.

Continue reading

Boris Johnson, Brexit, British Government, Brussels, Data Protection, Negotiating

#Brexit and the story of Paddy’s Two Rules

pint and ham

It was back in 1972. I had joined the Workers Union of Ireland, now part of SIPTU, as a trainee official. Full of naïve, student radicalism. Impatient to change the world.

I was assigned to learn my trade with an old-time official named Paddy.

Paddy was had risen through the union ranks from a shop-floor worker, to shop-steward, to full-time official. He was no intellectual, but he was full of what we would nowadays call “street-smarts”. An old-fashioned, working class union official whose heroes were Larkin, Connolly, and Bevan. Marx and Lenin didn’t come into it.

At the time, Paddy was in discussions about the renewal of a two-year agreement with a major food company. I was the junior bag carrier.

Continue reading

Boris Johnson, Brexit, British Government, Conservative Party, Customs Union, Irish border, Negotiating, Northern Ireland, Single Market

International Law… what’s that, says the dead cat

Boris deadcat.png

Last week was some Brexit week, a week in which the UK government introduced legislation, the internal market bill, which a government minister admitted in the Commons would break international law, but only in a “specific and limited way”.

The minister, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis MP, was talking about the powers the government proposed to take which would allow them to override provisions in the Withdrawal Act signed with the EU in 2019 when it comes to the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK, according to the minister, was deliberately and consciously going to break an international treaty that it had only recently signed.

The international treaty, the Withdrawal Agreement, provides that Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, will remain in the EU’s customs union and single market for goods to avoid rebuilding a hard border on the island of Ireland between Northern Ireland and Ireland, a continuing member of the EU.

Continue reading