British govt will not reduce worker rights post-Brexit, business secretary says


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(Reuters) – The British government will not lower standards on workers’ rights, its business secretary said on Twitter on Thursday, in response to a Financial Times report on plans to shake up EU labour regulations as part of a post-Brexit overhaul.

The FT reported earlier on Thursday that the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy was proposing changes focused on ending the 48-hour working week, altering rules around rest breaks and not including overtime pay when calculating some holiday pay entitlements, citing people familiar with the plans.

“We want to protect and enhance workers’ rights going forward, not row back on them,” Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, said in a tweet that featured a link to the FT article.

Commenting on the report, opposition member of parliament Ed Miliband said the government’s priorities were “out of step with the needs of workers and their families”.

“These proposals are not about cutting red tape for businesses but ripping up vital rights for workers,” Miliband said in an emailed public statement.

The measures were being prepared with Downing Street’s approval but have not yet been agreed by ministers or put to the cabinet, the FT report said.

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