Brexit emergency threatens jobs North and South - Congress

2 Oct 2019

Preparing for Brexit ICTU Proposals to support jobs and Workers in the Republic of Ireland

With the threat of Brexit continuing to hang over workers North and South of the Border it is time for government to seriously consider proposals that Congress has tabled to mitigate uncertainty for workers and to protect their incomes in the event of a Brexit related downturn.

General Secretary Patricia King said “while the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said ‘we will under no circumstances have checks in or near the border in Northern Ireland’, the deadline of October 31 is approaching fast, and Mr.Johnson seems determined in his words to “get Brexit done”. 

Patricia King said “his apparent ‘compromise’ does not stand up to scrutiny because if Northern Ireland is outside of the Customs Union, there has to be some form of checks and tariffs on the movement of goods on or near the Border.

The implications for tens of thousands of workers are enormous, that is why we tabled proposals to support jobs and workers, some months ago".

Patricia King said, “we are now at a critical stage and Brexit is an emergency situation facing workers North and South".

Congress has examined in detail this threat to jobs and business in our report “Preparing for Brexit – ICTU Proposals to support jobs and workers”.  
The key recommendations are:

  • A Short-Time Work Scheme to preserve jobs in firms at risk
  • A Brexit Adjustment Assistance Fund to upskill and retrain workers at risk while they are still in employment
  • Ensure that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund is able to support workers made redundant because of Brexit
  • Involve both social partners in all Brexit-related preparations

Assistant General Secretary Owen Reidy "the Irish government must intensify its ongoing engagement with ICTU and other social partners in responding to what is an emergency situation. It is also essential that the UK government set up and implement our proposals for a Forum for Social Dialogue in Northern Ireland to mitigate the worst consequences of a no-deal Brexit for workers. It is also time for politicians to return to work at the Northern Ireland Assembly so as worker’s rights can be safeguarded".