Congress General Secretary Patricia King is to tell the all-island forum on Brexit today that: “We are acutely conscious that some sectors of our economies are particularly exposed and may well become vulnerable to job loss and displacement. We need to swiftly identify the ‘at risk’ sectors and appropriate supports must be put in place to better equip companies and their workforces.
“Congress proposes the establishment of an all-island ‘Early Warning System’ inclusive of trade unions, employers and state agencies, together with a Retraining Fund to reskill workers for jobs in new sectors.
“In addition, Congress is proposing the creation of a Strategic Investment Bank to help create new, post-Brexit enterprises and support firms affected by the UK’s exit from the European Union.
“Congress has a crucial role to play in any dialogue relating to Brexit given the major ramifications it may have for the workers we represent,” Patricia King will tell the Forum.
Ms King will also call on governments north and south to ensure Brexit does not become ‘a pretext’ to dismantle employments rights and protections, derived from EU directives.
“The standard reaction is to use Brexit to argue for wage repression in certain sectors and movement towards ever lower personal and corporate taxes. We are calling on both Governments to ensure that we do not follow the UK in a race to the bottom in terms of social legislation and labour market conditions.”
Congress will also call for the governments in Dublin and Belfast to support continued free movement of people on the island and for the maintenance of the Good Friday Agreement.
“It is imperative that the UK government reaffirms its commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights and we must also see an ongoing role for the EU in safeguarding the agreement.
“The principle of consent underpins political and community life in Northern Ireland and governs relations between both parts of the island. Congress firmly believes this principle must be respected and upheld and that both the UK and Irish Governments must reaffirm their ongoing commitment to the maintenance of the Good Friday Agreement,” Ms King will tell the Forum.