The Trades Union Congress is prepared to campaign for a referendum on a #Brexit deal unless Theresa May returns with a good deal for British workers, the organisation’s general secretary said on Sunday.
Frances O’Grady said that unless the prime minister returned with a deal which protects jobs and workers’ rights, the umbrella organisation for the UK’s unions would support the People’s Vote campaign.
Her comments came as union delegates gathered in Manchester for the annual TUC conference, where Brexit will be debated on Monday, and two weeks before the Labour party conference in Liverpool, where delegates are expected to debate and vote on Brexit policy.
There has been mounting pressure and a national campaign over the summer for a second referendum on the final Brexit deal.
O’Grady told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: “I want to serve notice to the prime minister today that if we don’t get the deal that working people need, the TUC will be throwing our full weight behind the campaign for a popular vote so that people get a say on whether that deal is good enough.
“I am a trade unionist. There is no way that a trade union would negotiate a deal and not go back to their members,” she said.
“People don’t trust politicians. They are really worried about what Brexit means for their jobs, their communities and their wage packets with prices going up too. So it is only right that people can have a say.
“If the prime minister can’t get a deal that meets our needs, then we will be campaigning for a popular vote.”
O’Grady called for the prime minister to seek an immediate extension so she could attempt to negotiate a deal that would protect the rights and jobs of UK workers.
“We have been very clear that the PM should protect jobs, protect workers’ rights and [deliver] no hard border in Northern Ireland.
“Time is running out and crashing out of the EU would be an absolute disaster for the people we represent.
“What the PM should be doing is seeking an extension on article 50 so we don’t crash out in March,” she said.