US healthcare companies circling the NHS are now “on notice”, says TUC

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Speaking after meeting EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht about the forthcoming Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) in Davos today (Thursday), TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“US healthcare companies should know that they have been put on notice. They should not expect the forthcoming EU-US trade deal to protect them from a future British government restoring NHS services currently run by private firms to the public sector.

“The EU Trade Commissioner has assured me that the consultation exercise on foreign investors’ rights will now – as a result of union pressure – include the option of dumping the deeply undemocratic Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism. I left him in no doubt that unions and their campaign partners will be demanding its removal from the TTIP.

“We must ensure that future governments are not bound to pay unlimited compensation to companies seeking to make a killing from the implementation of the Health and Social Care Act. Democratically elected governments must be free to do what voters decide, and not be frightened off by the prospect of secretive litigation.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- Frances O’Grady met Commissioner de Gucht early this afternoon (Thursday) at the World Economic Forum in Davos along with the leader of the European Trade Union Confederation, Bernadette Segol and other European trade union leaders. The European Commission consultation exercise on the TTIP will be launched on 1 March and is expected to last three months.

- Earlier this month some 200 organisations wrote to European and American trade negotiators to raise concerns about the impact of the ISDS. If it remains a part of the trade deal, it would allow multi-national corporations to sue individual governments if they feel that public policy is contrary to the principles of free trade, and as a result they have lost out financially.

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen   T: 020 7467 1248    M: 07778 158175    E: [email protected]
Rob Holdsworth    T: 020 7467 1372    M: 07717 531150     E: [email protected]

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