Northern Ireland citizens must not suffer any diminution of workplace rights, health and safety protections or environmental safeguards
NI Executive should investigate the reintroduction of selective financial assistance for Manufacturing to mitigate adverse Brexit impact
July 21st: Speaking as the French President and Irish Taoiseach called for a swift Brexit process, Unite Regional Secretary, Jimmy Kelly, called upon both Northern Ireland Executive parties to guarantee current workplace rights, health and safety protections and environment safeguards in the upcoming negotiations:
“A majority of voters in Northern Ireland backed continued membership of the European Union. For many, their vote was motivated by a desire to avoid adverse economic impacts as well as concerns that Brexit could downgrade hard-won social, economic and environmental protections.
“Despite that, the United Kingdom as a whole voted to leave the EU which means that rights for workers, such as the Working Time Directive, may now be ‘at risk’.
“The Northern Ireland Assembly has legislative competence in these areas which means that they will be able to act to defend existing provisions. We are calling on both the DUP and Sinn Féin to guarantee publicly that they will ensure will be no diminution of workplace rights or those underpinning environmental or social standards.
“In addition, given that Northern Ireland’s economy is disproportionately exposed to the headwinds of Brexit, it is vital that the Executive seize upon those opportunities arising from the new situation; for example, the ending of EU state aid rules may allow the reintroduction of selective financial assistance, vital to help underpin our manufacturing jobs and raise productivity.
“Promises were made by the advocates for a Leave vote that there would be no loss in agricultural subsidies, no loss to regional funding for cross-border infrastructure and that the savings from leaving the EU would be ring-fenced for NHS spending. All parties need to work collaboratively to ensure those promises are kept and that existing funding for the region is ring-fenced into the future”, Mr Kelly concluded.