Brexit presents ‘emergency situation for workers’ – Ictu

Trade union calls on Irish Government to consider measures to protect incomes

Patricia King, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Patricia King, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Trade unions have said the Brexit proposals tabled by the UK government have enormous implications for workers and that the authorities in Ireland must consider measures to mitigate against uncertainty and to protect incomes.

The general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Union (Ictu) Patricia King said Brexit was an emergency situation facing workers north and south.

Ictu said it had recommended the introduction of a short-time work scheme to preserve jobs in firms at risk, as well as a Brexit adjustment assistance fund to upskill and retrain workers at risk while they were still in employment.

It said measures should be put in place to ensure that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was able to support workers made redundant because of Brexit.

Ictu also called for social partners to be involved in all Brexit-related preparations.

Ms King said “while the British prime minister Boris Johnston has said ‘we will under no circumstances have checks in or near the Border in Northern Ireland’, the deadline of October 31st is approaching fast, and Mr Johnston seems determined, in his words, to get Brexit done.”

She said the UK prime minister’s “ apparent compromise” did not stand up to scrutiny because Northern Ireland was outside of the Customs Union, there had to be some form of checks and tariffs on the movement of goods on or near the Border.

Ictu assistant general secretary Owen Reidy said: “The Irish Government must intensify its ongoing engagement with ICTU and other social partners in responding to what is an emergency situation. It is also essential that the UK government set up and implement our proposals for a forum for social dialogue in Northern Ireland to mitigate the worst consequences of a no-deal Brexit for workers. It is also time for politicians to return to work at the Northern Ireland Assembly so as worker’s rights can be safeguarded.”