European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill — New Clause 2 — Protecting Workers’ Rights — 8 Jan 2020 at 19:00

The majority of MPs voted against maintaining workers' rights derived from the European Union and against continuing to give workers at least the same level of protection as provided within the union even after the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the union.

MPs were considering the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill.[1]

The proposed new clause rejected in this vote was titled:Protecting workers’ rights and stated:

  • ‘(1) It shall be an objective of the Government to secure an agreement with the European Union that achieves the following outcomes—
  • (a) that the United Kingdom will not introduce any measure which would have the effect of reducing in any way the protection provided by any Retained EU Worker Rights after IP completion day;
  • (b) that the United Kingdom shall take all steps necessary to ensure that, from exit day, all Retained EU Worker Rights will continue to have at least the same level of protection in the United Kingdom as is applicable in other Member States;
  • (c) that where, after IP completion day, the European Union brings into force or effect any New EU Workers’ Rights, the result and legal consequences in the United Kingdom of those New EU Workers’ Rights shall be the same as if those New EU Workers’ Rights had been Workers’ Rights brought into force and effect by the European Union before IP completion day;
  • (d) that those parts of the Treaties which, before IP completion day, provide for any matter concerning the interpretation of Workers Rights in any part of the United Kingdom ​to be determined by the Court of Justice of the European Union shall continue to apply to the United Kingdom or such part of the United Kingdom to the same extent after IP completion day;
  • (e) that after IP completion day, the procedural rules, including limitation periods, rules of courts and tribunals and remedies, governing actions for safeguarding New EU Workers’ Rights and Retained EU Worker Rights in the United Kingdom shall continue to be no less favourable than the procedural rules governing similar actions under United Kingdom law;
  • (f) that nothing in this clause shall prevent the United Kingdom from introducing amendments to Workers’ Rights for the purpose of making such provisions more favourable to the protection of workers;
  • (g) that the terms at (a) to (f) shall have direct effect and shall be recognised and available in law and be capable of enforcement by individuals and their trade unions in courts and tribunal.
  • (2) Subsections (3) and (4) cease to apply if the Government has secured an agreement with the European Union that achieves the objective in subsection (1).
  • (3) A Minister of the Crown must make an oral statement to the House of Commons on the objective in subsection (1)—
  • (a) within three months of this Act coming into force;
  • (b) at least as frequently as every 28 days thereafter.
  • (4) Each statement made under subsection (3) must set out—
  • (a) the steps taken by the Government, and the progress made in negotiations with the European Union, for the purpose of achieving the objective in subsection (1); and
  • (b) whether in the Minister’s opinion an agreement with the European Union achieving the objective of subsection (1) is likely to be achieved by IP completion day and, if not, setting out the reasons for this.
  • (5) For the purpose of this section—
  • “New EU Worker Right” means any Workers’ Rights—
  • (a) which Member States are obliged to confer by an EU directive published in the Official Journal of the European Union on or after IP completion day; or
  • (b) that are conferred by an EU regulation or other instrument published in the Official Journal of the European Union on or after IP completion day; or
  • (c) that arise out of a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union on or after IP completion day;
  • and shall include any improvement to a Workers’ Right which existed before IP completion day;
  • “Retained EU Worker Rights” means Workers’ Rights which—
  • (a) immediately before IP completion day, the United Kingdom was obliged to confer by virtue of the Treaties and the EU directives listed in Schedule 1, or which were, without further enactment, given legal effect in the United Kingdom; and
  • (b) on IP completion day, continued to have effect in any part of the United Kingdom;
  • “Workers’ Rights” means rights of individuals, classes of individuals and their trade unions, in all areas of labour protection including—
  • (a) fundamental rights at work, including all forms of discrimination;
  • (b) fair working conditions and employment standards;
  • (c) information and consultation rights;
  • (d) restructuring of undertakings and acquired rights; and
  • (e) health and safety at work.​
  • “Exit day” shall have the same meaning as in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
  • “IP completion day” shall have the same meaning as in the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.”

The rejected new clause was accompanied by the following explanatory statement provided by its proposer:

  • This new clause would require the Government to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with the EU protecting workers’ rights.

Debate in Parliament |

Public Whip is run as a free not-for-profit free service. If you'd like to support us, please consider switching your electricity and/or gas to Bulb Energy who provide 100% renewable electricity and tend to be 20% cheaper than the 'Big Six'. They'll also pay any exit fees (up to £120) from your old supplier AND give you (and us) a £50 credit for joining up via our Bulb Referral Link.

Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Alliance0 10100.0%
Con336 (+2 tell) 0092.6%
DUP8 00100.0%
Green0 10100.0%
Lab0 190 (+2 tell)095.0%
LDem0 110100.0%
PC0 40100.0%
SDLP0 20100.0%
SNP0 46097.9%
Total:344 255094.1%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

NameConstituencyPartyVote
no rebellions

About the Project

The Public Whip is a not-for-profit, open source website created in 2003 by Francis Irving and Julian Todd and now run by Bairwell Ltd.

PublicWhip v2 codebase is currently under development - you can join the Slack group to find out more or email [email protected]

The Whip on the Web

Help keep PublicWhip alive