BREXIT: Congress Warns on Threat to Jobs, Living Standards and Union Rights

19 May 2016

Publication cover - Brexit Briefing Paper web Cover image for Brexit Briefing Paper web

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions warned today (May 19) that a British exit from the European Union – ‘Brexit’ – would have significant implications for union members’ living standards and for workplace rights across the island and said it would be calling for a vote to remain in the EU.A new* briefing paper from Congress on the likely implications of Brexit points out that:“While Brexit will clearly have a more direct impact on Congress affiliates and members in Northern Ireland, no part of the island will remain untouched or unaffected. Brexit would have significant implications for members’ living standards, for employment and for workers’ rights in both jurisdictions.”Congress has over 215,000 members in Northern Ireland, in a number of affiliated trade unions.The Northern Ireland Committee (NIC) of Congress has already stated its determination to campaign against a possible Brexit. The NIC statement said:“We are calling upon workers and their families to use their vote in the EU referendum and to vote to remain, for the stability of the economy of Northern Ireland, for the security of their jobs and for their rights as workers. Leaving the EU would be a huge threat to our private sector exporters in particular, and would act as a major disincentive for any prospective foreign investors setting up here.“We are still dedicated to building a Social Europe, and we will argue that we should stay and fight for an EU that respects its working people and protects their dignity…”In April, delegates to the Northern Ireland Committee’s Biennial Delegate Conference overwhelming passed a motion of opposition to Brexit.Research from the Nevin Institute found that the impact of a Brexit in the short-term would be overwhelming negative and that Northern Ireland was “likely to be the region most affected by a UK exit from the EU” in terms of Jobs, Trade, Investment and Energy. “*The Congress document is available to download: