On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum on whether to remain in or leave the European Union. The result was 51.9% of voters voting to leave. Two things were immediately clear. First, the negotiations would be a very complex, technical, and politically charged affair. Second, the UK would face tough choices and would not be allowed to ‘cherry-pick’ the terms of the Brexit arrangements.
Now, on the brink of the third deadline for a Brexit deal, two leading UK academics consider the possible implications of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ for UK workers’ rights. They conclude that the process and the post-Brexit architecture will be owned and determined by the political party in power at the time of Brexit and they pose two alternative scenarios.
Either the future could deliver a relentless process of ossification, stagnation and erosion of UK labour rights led by politicians traditionally hostile to workers’ rights. Or, the UK could not only protect those UK rights already on the statute book but could resist the tendencies of the European Commission to decentralise collective bargaining arrangements and deregulate employment protection legislation.