This blogpost was written on Saturday March 9th, 2019
Speaking in Grimsby on Friday, March 8, the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, said:
We have also committed to protecting the rights and standards currently set at the EU level – from workers’ rights to environmental protections.
Brexit will not be a race to the bottom. In fact, in most of these areas the UK has led the way, ahead of the EU. And this week we have said that if the EU expands workers’ rights, we will debate those measures in Parliament and decide if we want to follow suit.
…But we will not tie ourselves in automatically to follow EU changes without Parliament having its say.
That would mean weakening workers’ rights if the EU ever chose to do so. And it would not be taking back control. The UK has led the way in the EU, and we will lead the way outside it.
To put it at its mildest, this is simply not true.
The UK has consistently opposed and sought to water down proposals for EU employment and social law more or less stretching back to the start of its EU membership in the 1970s. Back in those days, with Labour in government, and the trade unions and the Left within the party hostile to the then European Community (EC), seeing it as a “capitalist club”, the UK blocked moves on “industrial democracy” proposals because their adoption might undermine the workplace position of the then dominant trade unions.