OxHRH Special Blog Series: The Implications of British Exit of the European Union for Workers’ Rights in the UK

by | May 10, 2016

In the UK, the debate over Britain’s possible exit from the European Union (Brexit) is growing louder in the run up to the referendum on 23 June 2016. Politicians and economists, business-leaders and civil society groups have all been making their case for either remaining in, or leaving, the European Union. The competing arguments are predominantly based on respective assessments of the economy, diplomatic relations, state sovereignty, security and border control.

But what would Brexit mean for the human rights of those living and working in the United Kingdom? What impact has EU law had on shaping the scope and form of protections that those living and working in the UK enjoy? And how might domestic protections change as a result of exiting the EU and the UK no longer being bound by the decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union?

Of particular concern has been the impact that Brexit could have on workers’ rights. Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the biggest UK trade union body, the TUC, has warned: “Voting to leave the EU is a big risk for everyone who works for a living. Brexit would mean working people are haunted by years of uncertainty, as rights like paid holiday, parental leave and equal treatment for part-timers and contract workers could be stripped away over time.”

In this special Blog series, OxHRH Director Professor Sandy Fredman has invited leading human rights law academics and practitioners to come together to consider in greater detail the impact that Brexit might have for workers’ rights in the UK.

Our list of expert contributors in the coming weeks include:

Professor Sandy Fredman QC,FBA, University of Oxford

Professor Judy Fudge, Kent Law School

Professor Michael Ford QC, Old Square Chambers and University of Bristol

Professor Alan Bogg, University of Oxford

Professor Nicola Countouris, University College London

Professor Tonia Novitz, University of Bristol

Professor Mark Freedland QC,FBA, University of Oxford

Do join us on the Blog and get involved by leaving your comments at the bottom of posts or contacting us via Twitter (@OxHRH) and Facebook.

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