Retained EU Law Bill threatens gender equality in the workplace, says Nicholl

Alliance MLA Kate Nicholl has said a bill which will introduce provisions to allow government Ministers to repeal retained EU law threatens gender equality in the workplace and risks the reversal of women’s rights.

Brexit Kate Nicholl

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill will hear its remaining stages in the House of Commons tomorrow (Wednesday). It will repeal all EU-derived regulations unless the Government specifies otherwise.

South Belfast MLA Ms Nicholl said if enacted in current form, it risked undermining workers’ rights and jeopardising women’s rights.

“Many core workplace protections including holiday pay, maternity leave and equal pay, which shield workers in Northern Ireland from exploitation and discrimination could be repealed under the legislation, with little or no democratic scrutiny,” she said.

“The Tory Government appear to be hell-bent on discarding basic rights and protections and are driving a reckless race to the bottom for workers.

“Another pernicious aspect of this Bill is the threat to maternity and paternity rights. In my South Belfast constituency and across Northern Ireland, parents are already under enormous pressure as a result of soaring childcare bills.

“The serious, long-term cost of this course of action could mean more women are forced out of the workforce, a heightened gender pay gap – as well as having a damaging impact on our national economic productivity, and in the midst of a cost of living crisis that is simply unforgivable.

“This bill is an attack on working women, and this Government doesn’t have any mandate to strip away paid holidays, health and safety protections or to roll back rights supporting working mothers.

“My colleagues and I will be opposing this legislation every step of the way. Together, we can resist the authoritarian actions of the UK Government and preserve existing UK rights and protections of equality law.”