Brexit’s impact on vulnerable workers in global supply chains
Workers in a garments factory in Vietnam courtesy of the ILO
Post Brexit, ETI’s Executive Director Peter McAllister has been thinking about the fallout for workers, their wages and their rights. He asks, will leaving the EU make a difference to workers’ conditions of employment? If it does, will it be for the better? Or for the worse? And how can we make sure that progress already made on standards and ethical approaches is not diluted?
Since the vote to leave Europe, at ETI we’ve heard on the grapevine that some CEOs in member companies have been at pains to advise their UK workforce that all employees are equally valued. Not just British workers, but migrant workers too.
While we applaud them for being proactive, it’s of concern that they have felt the need to do so.
But then reports of racist attacks and graffiti have increased, and under our Base Code guidelines, senior managers have a very definite duty of care for their employees, including but not limited to non-discrimination.
Meanwhile, trade unions have publicly expressed concern about workers losing employment rights with Francis O’Grady, the TUC’s General Secretary warning that “workers’ rights are on the line”.
Likewise, our charity members are worried about how Brexit will affect migrant workers and refugees. They’re also asking themselves what will be the impact on poor communities when European regeneration funds are withdrawn, and will there be increased demand for charities’ services at a time when money is increasingly tight?
Written by Peter McAllister