Labour Research October 2016


Congress raises Brexit concerns

There was intense concern at TUC Congress last month over what Brexit will mean for workers’ rights, with general secretary Frances O’Grady using her keynote speech to call on the government to protect British jobs. 

“Government must be ready to step in and work to keep the advantages we get from membership of the single market — for all of our industries, not just the City,” she said.

During conference, the TUC released the report, Taking the temperature of the post-Brexit economy, which gives insights from union convenors working at major businesses most likely to be affected by Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. They reveal that in the medium term, decisions on investment in their workplaces remain on hold, with businesses taking a “wait and see” approach. 

But as the report warns, any resulting slowdown in growth would have clear impacts for jobs, with current forecasts predicting around a quarter of a million job losses into 2017. 

The TUC is calling on ministers to consider both the sectoral and regional impacts of any new trading arrangements, as in every English region and Scotland, almost one in 10 jobs are linked to EU exports. 

Initial analysis in the report shows that in every part of the UK except London, manufacturing jobs dependent on EU exports are more significant than jobs in financial services that rely on the EU.