The European Commission has trumpeted that TTIP stands to improve prosperity and jobs across the EU and USA and will not drive down labour standards.
The TUC is calling for a TTIP that creates a gold standard for workers rights–sowe want American workers to have the kinds of rights protection and worker representation found in Europe.
But without the involvement of trade unions, quite simply the Commission will never be able to negotiate the good deal for workers they are promising.
The TUC has real concerns about the current state of negotiations as they do not exclude many parts of the public sector from broader privatisation.
Negotiators also want the agreement to include ISDS provisions which we know mean future governments could find themselves being sued for their public health and education policy by any American investor that fears its investment is being jeopardised if part of its service is brought back into public ownership.
The TUC is calling for an exemption for public services from the deal.
We are also opposed to ISDS in TTIP and indeed any trade deal as it is undemocratic and against the public interest to allow foreign investors to use special secretive courts to sue governments for making public policy they think is bad for business.
In the UK, health and education are particularly under threat from ISDS due to the extent of American investment in these areas.
We will be submitting these concerns through the Commission’s consultation on ISDS. This consultation is an important acknowledgement that trade negotiations cover issues of public interest and so must involve representatives of interest groups such as trade unions, as well as consumer and environmental groups.
The Commission in the EU and the USTR in the USA need to extend this and properly involve unions in all parts of the negotiations on TTIP.
Like every gain unions seek to win, a struggle lies ahead. We don’t expect negotiators to invite us to the table without a lot more agitation from us.
But this is a great opportunity to build workers power across the EU and USA by coordinating our mobilising and campaigning.
The opportunity to secure protections for public services, labour, environmental rights and banish ISDS once and for all, is too great a prize to not join this fight.
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