LONDON — It’s an understatement to say that Michael O’Brien is worried about Brexit.
O’Brien is a supervisor at Clarity-The Soap Co., which employs visually impaired adults at a factory in east London. A tall man with a thatch of gray hair, O’Brien has a manner so easy that it sounds as if he is talking about the weather rather than an issue that bitterly divides British society — the country’s looming departure from the European Union.
“(This job) means everything to me,” he said, standing beside a machine that magnifies documents so he can track invoices. “When I came here 4 ½ years ago, I was in a bad way. I got (laid off) from my last job, didn’t think I’d work again. And I came here and it’s given me a lifeline.”
Amid the rancor and political bickering that this week sent Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal down to the biggest defeat in history, people across the U.K. are worried about what the impasse in Parliament means for them and their families. The anxiety is palpable at Clarity, where people understand that jobs can be precious and hard to come by.
The company traces its roots to 1854 as a social enterprise that employs people with disabilities: Queen Victoria was its first patron and Charles Dickens supported it. Clarity has survived two World Wars, the Blitz and the Great Depression, so Brexit should be a piece of cake. But uncertainty about what rules will apply to trade with the European Union after Britain leaves the bloc is crimping the company’s ability to plan for the future.
Before Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016, Clarity was preparing to increase production as part of an effort to expand its offering of high-end products, including soaps hand made in the Lake District …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Business News