Home Immigration News Spanner in the Brexit Works: UK Union and Migrant Workers Take Legal Challenge to Boris Johnson

Spanner in the Brexit Works: UK Union and Migrant Workers Take Legal Challenge to Boris Johnson

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Author- Tristan Kirk

The UK government tabled an offer to the European Union as an alternative to the “Irish backstop” last week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly said in public he will not seek an extension to Article 50 beyond 31 October.

A trade union and two migrant workers are taking the UK government to court again, demanding an injunction to avoid a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has filed a claim at the High Court, along with migrant workers Maritza Castillo Calle and Wilson Ayala, and a UK-born courier, Alex Marshall.

The IWGB, which says it represents some of the most marginalised workers in Britain, has brought several court cases in recent years based on EU legislation, including a £1 million lawsuit against The Doctors Laboratory, an NHS contractor.

​The union says the government has promised employment rights based on EU laws will remain after Brexit but it fears these will be watered down in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The latest legal challenge follows the failure of an attempt to force the Prime Minister to demand an extension to Article 50 beyond 31 October.

On Monday, 7 October, Lord Pentland, sitting in the Court of Session in Edinburgh, rejected a request for a court order against Mr Johnson, who is on record as saying he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than delay the Brexit process any longer.

The IWGB say they are simply trying to hold him to his legal duties to protect the rights of their 5,000 members, 1,000 of whom are EU nationals – many are Latin American-born cleaners who have Spanish passports.

​The union is seeking an injunction which would “restrain the Prime Minister from undermining the purpose of the Benn Act.”

IWGB general secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee said: “Low-paid workers need every tool possible to fight exploitative bosses and EU law has been crucial in that regard. In a no-deal Brexit, Tory Brexiteers will have free rein to water down employment rights and workers will lose access to the European Court and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which the IWGB has relies on to defend its members.”


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