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Human Rights Act ’98 AND Workers’ Rights

Comment 6th July 2010

I am in favour of retaining the Human Rights Act 1998 in its current form, but an alarming number of people who want the HRA repealed makes me want to suggest that, if the HRA would be repealed, let it be replaced by an even more powerful and more entrenched instrument such as the Bill of Rights. The Bill can be crafted to incorporate all the rights enshrined in the HRA (so that we are not at odds with the ECHR), and also incorporate Economic and Social Rights under the European Charter of Fundamental Rights (EUCFR), especially Article 4 which covers rights such as the Right to Health (medical treatment) and Workers rights to e.g safe working environment, Collective Bargaining and Industrial Action.

To protect the Bill of Rights against easy repeal as a result of Parliamentary Sovereignty, it can be procedurally entrenched in a similar way to the Canadian Bill of Rights making it a requirement to hold a referendum to repeal it in addition to a high threshhold of support by both houses of parliament.

Why does this matter?

If implemented, it would enhance Human Rights protection in the UK. By making certain Economic and Social rights under the EUCFR justiciable in Britain, the Government would be held to account to improve the quality of its provision of health to the population. The implementation of Workers Rights under Art 4 of the EUCFR would remove the Labour Government's so called 'red lines', the protocol signed by the Labour Government when sighning the Lisbon Treaty in 2007. 

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