The News | 21 September 2020
Unions insist they must be consulted on trade deals
LONDON: Unions in the UK, Australia and New Zealand have joined forces to call for decent jobs and workers’ rights to be protected under any deals on trade.
In a joint statement, the TUC, Australian Council of Trade Unions and New Zealand Council of Trade Unions called for transparency and consultation with trade unions on the text of negotiations. The statement highlights the importance of a UK-EU trade deal that locks in the highest standards of workers’ rights.
The three organisations expressed concern about the Comprehensive and Transpacific Partnership (CPTPP), which the UK Government has started steps to join.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Good trade deals improve the lives of working people. They protect jobs, create new employment and raise global labour standards.
“There is already strong agreement between our nations’ workers on what’s needed for a good deal. If these shared goals are put at the heart of the talks, we can get agreements that will be welcomed by working families across the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
“Strong workers’ rights must be a common thread linking all the trade deals our nations make. The deal the UK makes with the EU has consequences for Australia and New Zealand too. If it does not lock in high standards of workers’ rights, then the rights of their workers will come under pressure.
“Trade deals must not be hijacked by the narrow interests of global corporations, or we will face a race to the bottom for workers’ rights, and public services like the NHS will be served up as cash cows, or asset stripping opportunities...”