IWGB joins call for a 'people's vote' on Brexit

admin

27 November 2018

  • Union calls for people's vote to protect worker rights, free movement and the economy
  • IWGB releases video today in support of a "people's vote"
  • IWGB is the leading union for migrant workers and workers in the so-called gig economy, with landmark cases against companies such as Uber and Deliveroo

27 November: The Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain (IWGB), the leading union for migrant workers and workers in the so-called “gig economy” is backing a “people's vote” on the final Brexit deal.

The IWGB executive committee has passed a motion in support of a people's vote and, if a vote is impossible, a Brexit which ensures the UK remains a member of the single market, with EU employment law protections.

The IWGB is backing a people's vote in order to protect:

  • EU employment law rights: EU law is responsible for introducing a number of employment rights to the UK, including guaranteed holiday pay and protection from discrimination. EU courts have also been much more favourable to workers in their interpretation of the law than UK courts.

    On the issue of holiday rights, a recent decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has done away with restrictions on backdated holiday pay claims put in place by the coalition government and reaffirmed by restrictive UK tribunal and court decisions. This CJEU decision has opened the doors for the IWGB to bring class action suits against [two separate](http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/citysprint-gig-economy-union-iwgb-holiday-pay-claim-courier-employment-tribunal-a8292531.html) gig economy employers for over a million pounds in unpaid holiday pay.

  • Free movement: The IWGB is a union with a high proportion of migrant workers that have benefited from free movement of people.

  • The economy: It is vital to our members that the UK avoids any economic shock that would come from a hard Brexit. We know from previous experience that these kinds of economic shocks hit precarious workers disproportionately.

The IWGB has today released a video supporting a people's vote. This follows a comment piece by General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee published yesterday on how Theresa May's Brexit deal constitutes a risk to worker rights.

IWGB President Henry Chango Lopez said: “As migrant and precarious workers we have had to fight tooth and nail to win even the most basic rights and dignity at work. Losing EU employment law protections would mean we lose a vital weapon in our arsenal against exploitative bosses. That's why we need a people's vote. To stop a Brexit that will most likely be a carnival for profiteering companies and a curse for UK workers, not least, those at the bottom of the pile.”

TSSA union General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: More and more trade unionists are coming to the same conclusion - Brexit is a Tory project from start to finish. It's all about attacking workers, scapegoating migrants and driving down wages. Migrant workers, like those in the gig economy, are involved in struggles which are driving up wages for all. I salute our comrades in the IWGB who are leading this fight which is helping build our trade union movement. Their opposition to Brexit should be a wake-up call to the rest of our movement."

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: "The IWGB are an inspiration, and have been at the forefront of organising precarious workers, challenging the gig economy and securing better treatment for workers, wherever they come from. It is low-paid precarious workers who will be hit hardest by the Government giving up the workplace rights EU law enshrines. But by standing together, we can end low pay and exploitation, and we can deliver a democratic vote on Brexit."

The IWGB is the leading union for migrant workers and workers in the so called “gig economy”. It has been involved in landmark test cases against Deliveroo, Uber, Addison Lee, the University of London, Glasgow City Council and others.

**-ENDS-

For more information:**

Emiliano Mellino, press officer press@iwgb.co.uk