re: "The UK has much better employment protection law than many other EU countries (and I speak as a UK citizen who lives elsewhere in the EU)."
I didn't respond to this earlier because I had no idea of the veracity of your statement. However, coincidental or made up as it might sound, my other half is an employment law consultant for a global financial company operating in every market on earth and is responsible for ensuring compliance throughout the EU and Asia. So this evening I asked her about this.
She just about managed to to articulate "bollocks!" through surprised laughter.
As always it is not black and white she explained, as we waited for the bus. The state of employee protections throughout the EU depends of the maturity of any given nation state. So certain member states haven't yet been able to implement all of the EU directives because such things take time.
However If you compare to France, Germany and other longer term members of the EU, the UK is by no means the leader in this regard. The UK vigorously opposed the EU working time directive initially and only eventually partially implemented it reluctantly.
Even now, although complying in many aspects they refuse to implement the investigatory powers and remedial actions covered by the directive.
I am paraphrasing what she said and recounting it after several drinks with some of our resident European friends at a local french jazz bar but I'm very confident you are wrong.