AHEAD of this week’s European Council meeting, the Directors General of Business Europe and the CBI, Markus Beyrer and Carolyn Fairbairn, and the General Secretaries of the ETUC and the TUC, Luca Visentini and Frances O’Grady, have issued an unprecedented joint statement threatening ‘dire’ consequences in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The organisations, which represent 45 million workers and 20 million employers across Europe, met for the first time in London on 15 June to discuss Brexit. The statement reads: ‘We are calling on the UK government and the EU to inject pace and urgency in the negotiations, bringing about measurable progress, in particular a backstop arrangement to avoid a hard border in Ireland.
‘Decisions will be needed in June and October to finalise the withdrawal agreement and the transitional arrangement, and put economic interests and people’s jobs, rights and livelihoods first. ‘The UK government and the EU will need to agree on all aspects of regulatory alignment, which is of the utmost importance, without jeopardising the integrity of the single market.
‘This must involve preserving value chains and avoiding non-tariff barriers to trade; finding a solution for intra-corporate transfer (ICT) arrangements; barrier-free and frictionless trade in goods and services; and a mechanism for agreeing a mutually acceptable level playing field for workers’ rights … ‘The cost of disagreement between the UK and the EU would be dire for firms, workers and the communities where they live. Amid uncertain times, we appeal to negotiators on both sides to put jobs and prosperity before politics when seeking solutions that will matter for generations to come.’
• The Society Of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has claimed that over 850,000 car workers could face the sack because of Brexit. German’s BMW, which employs 8,000 workers and has four plants in the UK, warned it will cease manufacture in the UK if Brexit means its supply chain is disrupted. Passenger jet maker Airbus also threatened to pull out of the UK with the loss of thousands of jobs if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.