Theresa May has undermined her pledge to keep workers’ rights guaranteed by EU law after Brexit by promoting an outspoken opponent of the protections.
The PM appointed Martin Callanan as Brexit minister on Friday to replace Joyce Anelay, who quit the chaotic Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) after just 4 months in the job.
Callanan is a former leader of the Tory group in the European Parliament who used his position to call for the abolition of workers’ rights:
In a speech to the European Parliament in 2012, he said:
“Surely one of the best ways for the EU to speed up growth is to scrap the Employment and Social Affairs directorate in the commission, and repatriate its responsibilities to national governments.
“Then we could scrap the Working Time Directive, the Agency Workers’ Directive, the Pregnant Workers’ Directive and the other barriers to actually employing people.”
You can watch the speech below:
Callanan has also written for the Conservative Home website on the need to scrap health and safety laws, which he described as “a brake on our economy”.
The laws singled out for abolition by the Brexiteer guarantee the right to paid holiday, equal pay for women, maternity rights and fair treatment for part-time and agency workers:
- When the Working Time Directive was introduced by Labour in 1998 two million people gained the right to a paid holiday for the first time.
- The Agency Workers’ Directive has led to increased pay and holiday entitlement for people without permanent contracts.
- And the Pregnant Workers’ Directive introduced health and safely protections for expectant and new mothers and paid time off for ante-natal classes.
The Trades Union Congress have said:
“Mr Callanan’s suggestions would put workers at risk, not just of exploitation but of serious harm, and in places like hospitals they risk putting patients lives at risk.”
Theresa May, who herself fiercely opposed the introduction of the EU’s ‘social chapter’, wants us to believe workers’ rights will be safe after Brexit.
Putting the likes of Callanan in charge of proves she can’t be trusted…