Submission to government consultation on UK-Australia trade

Report type
Consultation response
Issue date
15 Oct 2018
Key findings
  • The TUC joins with the ACTU Australian national union centre in calling for trade deals involving the UK and Australia to support decent jobs and protect high labour and other safety standards, public services and democratic decision making
  • The TUC is concerned by suggestions from the Trade Secretary that trade deals with countries like Australia could substitute for a trade deal with the EU. Not only would a deal with Australia not be able to replace volumes of trade with the EU but could pose threats to rights, public services and democratic decision making if it resembled the CPTPP deal Australia has recently signed.
  • The TUC believes the best option on the table to ensure UK workers continue to be protected by EU levels of employment rights and protect jobs is for the UK to continue to be a member of the single market and customs union, although we are open to other proposals that meet the same objectives.
  • Workers' rights would also be threatened if a trade deal between the UK and Australia contained provisions on labour mobility similar to those found in the Australia- China free trade agreement (CHAFTA). The ‘mode 4’ clauses on labour mobility in this deal doesn’t provide workers that move between countries through the deal to claim fundamental ILO labour standards, enabling bad bosses to exploit migrant workers and encouraging undercutting.