Trade union reaction to Michel Barnier’s remarks on Brexit negotiations & Call for Extension

5 Jun 2020

Owen Brexit 1

Reacting to comments from Michel Barnier on the state of EU/UK negotiations, Owen Reidy, Assistant General Secretary of the ICTU, called for an extension to the transition period to avoid what looks a no deal at the end of 2020.

“It seems the talks are not progressing and the UK government seems intent in moving further away from their commitments in the political declaration. There is a huge level of uncertainty and unpreparedness as to just how in practice the Northern Ireland protocol will actually operate.

“All suggests that the most sensible approach now would be to extend the transition period to avoid confusion and chaos with a no deal. Obviously the current global pandemic and its aftermath is and will be an incredibly challenging environment.

“Unlike a global pandemic which afflicts every state, the UK Government has a choice in this matter. The consequences of a Hard Brexit are clear, and policy makers who choose to ignore the experts will deserve to own the results of their folly.

“All of this suggests that the most prudent thing the UK government could do is to immediately seek an extension to the transition period. To refuse to do this would suggest that the current UK Tory government are intent on sweeping the chaos resulting from a no deal under the hardship of Covid 19.

“This would be incredibly cynical and we are seriously concerned that Northern Ireland all its people will be caught in limbo. Workers will not pay the price of Brexit and citizens must hold the UK government and its actions to account.”