Congress says Brexit is too important to be left to Westminster politicians.

24 Jan 2017

The UK Supreme Court judgement which clarifies the important role of parliament in triggering Article 50 has been welcomed by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, but ICTU regrets the failure of the Court to give an equivalent say to the devolved Assemblies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The issue of Brexit has huge its implications for workers on both sides of the border, with an estimated 30,000 workers crossing the border each day, living in one jurisdiction while working in another. Congress represents almost 750,000 workers across Ireland, including 215,000 workers in Northern Ireland.

Owen Reidy, Congress Assistant General Secretary with responsibility for Northern Ireland said: “It seems that the rights of workers in Northern Ireland are to be decided by Tories in Westminster, despite the constitutional position that means employment Law is devolved to the NI Assembly. We agree with our colleagues in the TUC that there is a profound duty upon MPs to ensure that workplace rights do not fall behind those across the border in the EU.

“It is bad enough that MLAs in Stormont will have little or no say; it is worse that the NI Executive has no unified voice on this, unlike the devolved administrations in Edinburgh and Cardiff who have both produced detailed proposals in consultation with business and trade unions in their areas.

“Where is the voice of the 56% who voted to remain in the EU? It is past the time for business, farmers and community activists to speak up – Brexit is too enormous and important to be left to politicians. We face losing from our trade and business each year more cash than the total cost of RHI. Where is the same outrage?

“It is a growing imperative that NI is heard on this matter, as Brexit will hit our economy harder than anywhere else in the UK. To that end, the trade union movement is acting and is finalising plans for a major event to coincide with the triggering of Article 50 at the end of March. More details will follow shortly,” Mr Reidy concluded.