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Bristol Chamber and TUC South West comment on EU Citizens’ Rights
The unprecedented nature of Britain leaving the EU means that the nation’s future is, by all accounts, uncertain.
The events of recent days have done little to alleviate this pervasive sense of uncertainty, but perhaps none more so than for the 3.7 million EU citizens currently residing in the UK.
James Durie, Chief Executive of Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative, Business West said:
“Despite reassurances from Government regarding the right to remain, the lack of progress on this issue has led to concerns that EU citizens’ rights will be used as a bargaining chip after all. The consequences of which are having a real human cost, tearing friends, families, colleagues and communities apart.”
Nigel Costley, Regional Secretary, TUC South West said:
“Trade unions know that many EU workers remain anxious for their future.
Union reps are working with employers every day to limit the risks of losing key staff. From distribution firms in Avonmouth to hospitals across Bristol, from aerospace engineers to restaurants, our economy relies on workers from the EU. They should not be held as pawns any longer and be given guarantees over their rights before Christmas.”
It is also highly unsettling for business, as Roger Proctor, Managing Director, Proctor + Stevenson, explained:
“As a business that exports 75% of what it does, our EU employees are vital for our business and, importantly, the continued employment prospects of their UK colleagues who rely on their technical and language skills day to day.
“We, as a business that adds to the GDP of this nation and these decent people deserve certainty as soon as possible, whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations.”
James Durie added:
“Roger’s account is just one of many across Bristol and the West of England, which underlines the human cost and disruption to businesses that a failure to guarantee the rights of EU citizens is causing.
“For businesses and employers of many different types in the region who rely heavily on skilled migrant workers from the EU 27, the uncertainty cannot be allowed continue. We therefore call on the UK government and EU27 to unilaterally guarantee their status and future rights before Christmas.
“Neither side need wait for the other to do this. If many who go home for holidays simply do not come back, I fear this would have a damaging impact on growth in our region, so take action now.”