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Union chiefs press May over workers’ rights after Brexit

Leaders had a series of face-to-face meetings with the Prime Minister in Downing Street.

Prime Minister Theresa May has been pressed by union leaders to guarantee jobs and workers’ rights after Brexit during a series of face-to-face meetings in Downing Street.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said she did not receive the guarantees she was seeking.

Workers are worried about their jobs and need reassurance about their future after the UK leaves the EU, she said.

The Prime Minister should do the right thing and take a no-deal off the table so that genuine dialogue can take place TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady

“The Prime Minister should do the right thing and take a no-deal off the table so that genuine dialogue can take place,” she said.

Ms O’Grady added: “I was looking for guarantees on workers’ rights now and into the future.

“We have a Prime Minister on a temporary contract- she cannot bind the hands of a future prime minister.

“People wanting her job are on record as saying Brexit is an opportunity to reduce workers’ rights.

“The Prime Minister should stop listening to the bad boys at the back of the class. More time is needed for genuine talks.”

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said he hoped his first ever meeting with Theresa May was not a “PR stunt”.

He stressed that a no-deal Brexit would be “disastrous” and urged the Prime Minister to extend Article 50 beyond March 29 for three months.

Mr McCluskey said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was right to refuse to meet the Prime Minister unless she ruled out a no-deal Brexit.

The Unite leader said companies were now putting investment decisions on hold because of the ongoing uncertainty.

He added: “I cannot conceive any prime minister taking us out of Europe with a no deal – it would be catastrophic.”

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: “A ‘no-deal’ Brexit must be avoided at all costs, and the Prime Minister needs to rule this out immediately.

“Crashing out of Europe would be catastrophic for the economy, public services and everyone who works in our schools, hospitals, town halls and police forces.

“However people voted in June 2016, no-one – especially those who are just about managing – was choosing to be worse off.

“The country is desperate for politicians to find a solution to the deadlock paralysing the country.

“The Prime Minister should be looking to build consensus and putting the interests of the country first, not simply trying to please those who won’t suffer the consequences of a no-deal.

“A customs union would solve the issues with Northern Ireland, protect the Good Friday Agreement and allow the UK to keep close links to its biggest trading partner.

“Employment rights must be protected and keep pace with any developments in Europe.

“But with precious little time on the clock, an extension of Article 50 is essential to bring the country back from the brink and the calamity of a no-deal.”

Press Association

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