Independence ‘the only way’ to protect workers’ rights

The SNP Shadow Business Secretary said the only way to guarantee workers' rights was to become an independent country.

Independence ‘the only way’ to protect workers’ rights Getty Images

Scottish independence is “the only way” to protect workers’ rights from a “devastating Brexit assault”, according to the SNP’s shadow business secretary.

The statement comes amid reports the UK Government are preparing to tear up key protections enshrined in EU law.

The Financial Times reported that the 48-hour working week could be scrapped under plans for a post-Brexit overhaul of labour laws.

The Conservatives have denied the claims but Drew Hendry says that Westminster “cannot be trusted” to protect and advance rights of employees and that Scotland has been “completely ignored” in any Brexit negotiations.

The MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey also warned that there could be a “devastating price to pay”.

He said: “It is clear that the only way to properly protect workers’ rights in Scotland is to become an independent country – with full powers over employment law, equality law, and the ability to protect Scotland’s place in Europe.

“Scotland has been completely ignored by Westminster throughout the Brexit process. It is a disgrace that we are being forced to pay such a devastating price as the Tories rip up our rights and inflict long-term damage to our economy.

“Millions of workers depend on the protections that are enshrined in EU law. Westminster cannot be trusted to protect and advance them – as the Tory assault on workers’ rights begins with a race to the bottom on deregulation.

“Boris Johnson’s damaging deal gets worse with every day that goes by. It beggars belief that Labour worked hand-in-hand with the Tories to impose this extreme Brexit and block the devolution of employment law – leaving Scotland powerless.

“People in Scotland have the right to determine our own future. We can reject Boris Johnson’s Brexit and guarantee workers’ rights with independence.”

However Conservative Party Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng denied the claims and said ministers are not planning to “lower” workers’ rights.

Kwarteng insisted that the Government wanted to improve workplace protections – not reduce them.

He tweeted: “We are not going to lower the standards of workers’ rights,”

“The UK has one of the best workers’ rights records in the world – going further than the EU in many areas.

“We want to protect and enhance workers’ rights going forward, not row back on them.”

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