Northern Ireland’s economy particularly at risk from Tory moves to impose a ‘hard Brexit’
Moves to restrict access to migrant labour threatens future sustainability of Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food sector
October 7th: Sean McKeever, Regional Officer with responsibility for workers in the Agri-Food sector called on the parties in the Northern Ireland Executive to unite to defend those economic sectors and communities at risk from the ‘hard Brexit’ being proposed by the Conservative party:
“Northern Ireland is disproportionately exposed to Brexit – a fact reflected in the majority vote here to Remain in the EU. Now that it’s clear the Tories are intent on driving forward with Brexit it is vital our political leaders secure the best possible deal for our economy and communities – particularly the border communities at greatest risk.
“Speeches at the recent Tory party conference suggest we are now facing a ‘hard’ Brexit; such an outcome would threaten investment and jobs across our agri-food sector, including in some of the largest employers in Northern Ireland. It is vital that the Northern Ireland Executive defends access to both migrant workers and EU markets.
“At the heart of the trade union movement is the idea of solidarity between workers. Unite is proud to represent any worker who chooses to live here and make a life for themselves; we are completely opposed to proposals to force employers to maintain lists of workers who are not UK nationals. Every worker in Northern Ireland has the same rights, and we will stand firm against any attempt to undermine collective agreements by trying to divide certain groups of workers from their colleagues. The Northern Ireland Executive must make it clear that such a regime must not be extended here.
“As a union, we have a proud record of standing united and strong against discrimination of any kind. We completely reject the dangerous rhetoric of division put forward at the Conservative Party conference”, Mr McKeever ended.