‘We have to make a decision’: Trade unions demand ‘a clear message’ from the government

The unions’ biggest issue with the government’s Brexit deal has been the lack of clear information on the terms of exit.

Many members are concerned about how it will affect the rights of migrant workers, especially those from Asia, where the number of visas for permanent residence has dropped from 690,000 in 2016 to about 400,000 last year.

The Government has said it will look at the numbers in 2019 but this is far from clear.

“I’m concerned that this will be the first step in a process that could take years and years and many millions of pounds,” says Joanne Murphy, a member of the trade union Unite who has been lobbying the government on her behalf.

She says she fears that, after the UK leaves the EU, it could face sanctions by other countries if it does not secure the best deal for migrant workers.

“We need to know, if we leave, will the UK be able to continue to access the EU market?

And then we will need to see the details of the agreement that we get,” she says.

In the short term, the unions say they are not concerned about the Government’s position on migration as long as it recognises the rights and responsibilities of migrant communities.

They are also worried about how the Government will respond to a possible Brexit-related financial crisis, such as the UK’s financial obligations to the EU.

“There are people in the UK who are worried about the financial impact of a Brexit and that has implications for the UK,” says Murphy.

“This is one of the reasons why the trade unions are now in a position to take the case for the protection of the rights for workers and that of their families.”