It is entirely true that much employment law currently comes to us via the tender ministrations of the European Union. This is not, however, the same as the statement that only the European Union can deliver employment law. Which is the logical mistake that is being made here:
One could be forgiven for wondering what the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) – a small trade union that represents mainly low-paid migrants and workers in the “gig economy” and relies on crowdfunding to help finance its initiatives – is doing intervening in the UK’s most important court case in recent history.
The starting point for understanding why the IWGB has an interest in the Brexit case is this: the UK leaving the EU represents potentially the biggest assault on workers’ rights and migrants’ rights in a generation. Indeed it is difficult to overstate the degree to which working people depend on employment law that originates in Brussels.
To name just a few examples: your right to paid holiday; your right not to be discriminated against because of your age or sexual orientation; your right not to be sacked or have your wages reduced when a company buys out your employer; your right to be consulted when your employer wants to make you and your co-workers redundant; protection against unfavourable treatment towards you if you work part-time; and equal pay for men and women.
It is entirely so that many, even all, of these things come to us as a result of the beneficence of the Parliament in Brussels. But that's rather because said Parliament and system has been insisting these recent decades that it should be they which have the right to legislate upon said subjects.
That is, said laws come from there because we are members of the EU, not because only the EU can deliver such laws. We are really rather sure that Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, all have very similar laws and all of them are entirely unblessed by being members of the EU.
Indeed, we're old enough to have long memories and not old enough to have no memories at all. The UK has had equal pay for men and women since the Equal Pay Act 1970. Which is not just before Britain joined the system but before the EU itself even came into existence. Holiday pay as a legal requirement for all has existed since the Holiday Pay Act of 1938 - not just before EU membership but even before Rossi and Spinelli started scribbling their manifesto on Ventotente.
It's entirely true that much law in the UK today is derived from the EU. But that's because EU membership has meant that the EU is the body which defines much law in the UK. There's absolutely nothing at all to stop us retaining, altering, amending, adding to or abolishing any of these laws and or rights as we wish post-Brexit.
The EU, that is, is only the mechanism by which these things exist currently, not the only, nor possibly even the best, way that we can make them exist.