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  • Union body slams UK government’s record of overlooking rights abuses when it comes to trade talks 

Commenting on the launch of trade talks with Israel, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: 

“Trade deals can lift labour standards, provide good jobs and reduce inequality around the world.  

“But time and time again, ministers have rushed into talks with countries that readily abuse human rights and workers’ rights – with no questions asked. 

“Israel is another example to add to a growing list – including India, Brazil, Colombia, Turkey, and the Gulf states.  

“That’s why we reject a trade deal with Israel until fundamental rights are respected – just as we do with all of these countries.  

“We fully support efforts to establish an ethical policy on UK trade with Israel, which respects international law and human rights – and provides decent work for Israelis and Palestinians alike. 

“Instead of treating trade deals as publicity tools, the UK government should be using its leverage on the global stage to promote decent work and peace.  

“It’s time to meaningfully consult with unions and listen to our concerns. That’s how you get trade agreements that work for working people.” 

Editors note

- The TUC’s position on global trade is consistent – the UK should not agree trade deals with countries that abuse and suppress human rights and workers’ rights.    

The TUC has called the suspension of trade agreements/talks with the following countries: 

-The ITUC Global Rights Index recently highlighted rights abuses faced by Palestinian workers in Israel 

 -The TUC recently accused the UK government of giving countries “a free pass” on rights abuses in a bid to secure trade deals  

- The TUC responded to the government consultation on a trade deal with Israel, which can be found here  

- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together the 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living. 

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