Trade unions in Ireland and Britain issue joint Brexit warning

Posted By: December 02, 2017

Brendan Hughes. Irish News. Belfast. Saturday, December 2, 2017

Theresa May’s decision to rule out EU single market and customs union membership after Brexit was a “historic mistake”, trade union leaders in Ireland and Britain have said.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and Trades Union Congress (TUC) said they were “seriously concerned” about the potential impact on workers of the UK leaving the European Union.

In a joint letter sent to several newspapers, they urged the British prime minister, pictured, to “put party maneuvering behind her” and said, “all options” for frictionless trade should be considered in Brexit negotiations.

Pressure has been growing for the UK to satisfy concerns over the Irish border ahead of a crunch summit with EU leaders in a fortnight.

Mrs. May wants them to agree to move towards trade talks, but the Republic wants a commitment that there will be no return to a hard Border.

The letter was signed by ICTU general secretary Patricia King, assistant general secretary for Northern Ireland Owen Reidy, and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.

“As trade union organizations with members in Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic, we want a post-Brexit deal that protects their jobs through frictionless trade in goods and services,” they said.

“Our unions will have members both in and out of the EU often working for the same employer. They must continue to have equal guarantees to their basic rights at work….”

They said they were “seriously concerned about the impact of this process on our members’ jobs, rights, and livelihoods.”

“Theresa May’s decision to rule out single market and customs union membership before the negotiations even began was a historic mistake.”