Brexit: EU social policy and the UK employment model

Paul Teague, Jimmy Donaghey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Big claims that are often unsubstantiated are made about the likely impact of Brexit on the UK labour market. This article seeks to go beyond the rhetoric and present a careful assessment of the employment relations consequences of Brexit for the UK. It addresses four key questions in particular: will Brexit end UK engagement in the EU's free movement of labour regime and if so, what will be the labour market consequences for the UK?; to what extent will Brexit weaken employment rights in the UK?; what impact will Brexit have on the behaviour of trade unions and on the functioning of collective bargaining in the UK?; and finally, what will be the effect of Brexit on the interactions between London and Brussels on wider employment policy questions. The article argues that Brexit poses acute policy dilemmas for the UK Government that are likely to generate considerable political and economic uncertainty. The fallout from this uncertainty is hard to predict in advance. It could either open the door to a Corbyn‐led Labour Government or alternatively to an even more thorough‐going deregulation of the UK labour market.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-533
Number of pages22
JournalIndustrial Relations Journal
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

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