Trade Union members demand a People’s Vote as new figures show millions of jobs are at risk from Brexit.

Trade Union members demand a People’s Vote as new figures show millions of jobs are at risk from Brexit.

  • Brexit threatens over 350,000 trade unionised jobs in manufacturing, transport, production industries, finance and elsewhere
  • Polling shows huge backing for a People’s Vote amongst rank-and-file trade unionists
  • Analysis shows botched Brexit will dump billions of pounds of additional costs on British manufacturers

The botched Brexit being dumped on Britain has put 2.8 million jobs – including those of 350,000 trade unionists - at risk, according to a new analysis based on TUC figures published today.

 

Industries worst affected by Brexit would be:

  • Manufacturing where 447,000 jobs are at risk, including at least 78,000 trade unionists.
  • Transport and storage where 250,000 jobs are at risk, including at least 89,000 trade unionists
  • Administrative and support services where 670,000 jobs are at risk, including at least 66,000 trade unionists.

Tomorrow, (Monday), the TUC Congress in Manchester is scheduled to debate its position on Brexit with the movement poised to toughen its stance on an issue which rank-and-file members see as more important than any other.

 

Frances O’ Grady, the TUC General Secretary told the BBC’s Andrew Marr today:

“I want to serve notice on the Prime Minister today that if we don’t get the deal that working people need, the TUC will throw its full support behind the campaign for a popular vote so that people get their say on whether the deal is good enough or not.”

 

According to a YouGov poll of more 2,700 members in Britain’s biggest trade unions, they are now in favour of a People’s Vote on any Brexit deal by a margin of two to one - and overwhelmingly support staying in the European Union.

  • Unison’s members support a People Vote by 66 to 22 per cent – a margin of three to one – and would opt to stay in the EU by 61 to 35 per cent.
  • Unite’s members support a People’s Vote by 59 to 33 per cent and back staying in by 61 to 35 per cent.
  • GMB’s members support a People’s Vote 56 to 33 per cent and would vote to stay in by 55 to 37 per cent.

 

Overall, the survey shows they want a public vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations by 61 to 28 per cent – or 68 to 32 per cent when “Don’t Knows” are excluded. They would currently split 66 to 34 per cent in favour of staying in the EU if there was a referendum on the final deal.

An overwhelming majority in all three unions name Brexit as the single-most important issue facing the country. And there is deep pessimism about the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

By a margin of around four to one, union members think standards of living will get worse rather than better and worsen job opportunities for people like them.

In the private sector the jobs most at risk are generally not those in the marginal parts of the economy where wages, skills and investment are low – but in the high value added, high skilled traded parts of the economy where, despite long-decline elsewhere, trade union membership remains high: such as automotive, aerospace, chemicals and metals.

In the public sector the threat is different because the decline of our world-leading export industries will do such damage to public finances that Brexit will see a new, and much deeper, round of austerity.

 

Additionally, new analysis of official trade figures also shows that industries with a large amount of trade union jobs would face increased costs of £6.1 billion due to new tariffs as a result of a botched Brexit.

Industries affected include manufacturing, which would face £575 million in extra costs per year, the chemicals sector, which would face £1.2 billion in extra costs per year, and the machinery and transport industry which would face £1.5 billion in extra costs per year. Across all industries, 49% of goods exports go to the EU each year.

 

Phil Wilson MP, a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:

“It’s a myth we can have a jobs-first Brexit. The choice for trade unionists is the fire of Theresa May’s Brexit or the frying pan of Jacob Rees Mogg’s Brexit. Either would be awful news for working families: both will mean job losses, cuts in hours worked and wages earned, and both will mean years more of damaging austerity for public services.

“Job losses and cuts would only be the beginning. An attack on social and environmental protections would be next – not least because the Brextremists would quickly move to demand that the UK be turned into an offshore destination for investors anxious to avoid paying tax, decent wages or holiday pay, and  observing environmental laws.

“Trade unions must fight to defend and extend their members’ rights. There can be no doubt that the biggest general threat to trade unionistsin Britain today is a botched Brexit and that is why the momentum in the union movement has been in only in one direction.

“As the voice of working people the TUC should use this week to make it very clear that it backs the fastest growing protest movement in Britain today and will demand a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.”

 

Baroness Margaret Prosser, a former president of the TUC who will be among the delegates in Manchester this week, said: 

 "Trade unions always listen to members and that's why we're already beginning to see them move on this issue.  But this poll is important because it shows we need to move further and faster in the next few weeks if we're going to fight for the best interests of workers.

“Tories like Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson are planning to dump a disastrous Brexit on Britain because they care only about themselves. A People's Vote is the last, best hope we have of preventing them from inflicting massive damage on jobs, public services and our most hard-pressed communities."  

/ends

 

Notes to editors

Figures for potential job losses are derived from the TUC report “How are we doing? The impact of Brexit at industry level.” They give, for each industry, a calculation of what percentage of jobs in the UK depends on EU trade. These figures for regional employment come from the ONS workforce statistics (2018).

The number of unionised workers who are reliant on EU trade in each region and industry is calculated from the ONS trade union statistics 2017.

Where the proportion of unionised workers in a specific region and industry is not available, we have used the national proportion of unionised workers for that industry and marked the figure in blue. Where national proportion is also not available, we have not given a figure for unionised jobs under threat.

Industry

% reliant on EU trade

Total jobs at risk

% unionised

Tradeunion jobs at risk

A : Agriculture, forestry and fishing

6.2

27027

*

*

B : Mining, energy and water supply

45.7

193282

*

*

C : Manufacturing

16.6

447125

17.6

78694

D : Construction

0.9

20612

11.3

2329

E : Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles

1.2

59619

12.7

7572

F : Transportation and storage

14.1

251789

35.6

89637

G : Accommodation and food service activities

5.2

125736

2.9

3646

H : Information and communication

9.2

136330

9.5

12951

I : Financial and insurance activities

19.5

221507

13.5

29903

J : Real estate activities

0.2

1138

9.2

105

K : Professional, scientific and technical activities

23.8

725836

7.8

56615

L : Administrative and support service activities

22.2

670163

9.9

66346

M : Other service activities

0.8

7809

11.7

914

N : Education

0.3

8795

48.1

4230

 

 

2896769

 

352943

 

The extra cost to industries was calculated using export figures for the United Kingdom, published by HMRC, for each industry. The value of exports to the EU was calculated by the share of EU exports as a percentage of total exports, also published by HMRC.

Average WTO tariffs for the industries were then applied to the export figures.

The full results of the analysis are as follows. The top lines of this release are based on 2017 figures, based on 49% of UK exports to the EU.

Industry

Annual value of exports to the EU in 2017 (£ million)

Average of tariffs under WTO Most-Favoured Nation rules

Additional annual cost to exporters after Brexit (£ million)

0 Food and Live Animals

7,207.95

8.90%

641.50755

1 Beverages and Tobacco

3,651.36

18.06%

659.435616

2 Crude Materials

3,495.87

0.80%

27.96696

3 Mineral Fuels

13,388.17

0.85%

113.799445

4 Animal and Vegetable Oils

254.71

5.14%

13.092094

5 Chemicals

27,698.44

4.49%

1243.659956

6 Manufactured Goods

14,955.44

3.85%

575.78444

7 Machinery and Transport

65,069.02

2.39%

1555.149578

8 Miscellaneous Manufactures

22,733.53

5.70%

1295.81121

9 Other commodities

3,601.51

0%

0

TOTAL

162,056.00

 

6126.206849

(HM Revenue and Customs, accessed 22 August 2018, link / World Trade Organization, accessed 22 August 2018, link / United Nations Statistics Division, accessed 22 August 2018, link)

 

Worst-affected regions for trade impact

Industry

Additional annual cost to exporters after Brexit (£ million)

SOUTH EAST

789.4386

LONDON

703.5121

SCOTLAND

697.0844

EAST OF ENGLAND

599.8505

NORTH WEST

537.4388

WEST MILANDS

442.5725

EAST MIDLANDS

358.5575

YORKSHIRE AND HUMBER

352.0023

SOUTH WEST

313.1201

WALES

311.1366

NORTH EAST

251.634

NORTHERN IRELAND

239.7845

(HM Revenue and Customs, accessed 22 August 2018, link / World Trade Organization, accessed 22 August 2018, link / United Nations Statistics Division, accessed 22 August 2018, link)