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World union meeting unites against TiSA and CETA

International Transport Workers Federation | 21/10/2016

World union meeting unites against TiSA and CETA

Global trade union leaders meeting in Panama have united in condemnation of TiSA (the Trade in Services Agreement and CETA (the Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement). The representatives, who were attending a key ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) meeting, highlighted the risks that both trade agreements pose to jobs and job security.

The two-day event is being held in Panama in recognition of that country’s role as a key global transport hub and component of the Federation’s plans for building the future of work (see

Among those protesting against the trade deals were union representatives from Australia, Canada, Chile, Taiwan, Colombia, Costa Rica, European Union member states, Hong Kong China, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States. All pledged to renew their objections with their own governments.

The ITF has been one of the harshest critics of the trade agreements and has repeatedly warned of its little publicised risks and built-in injustices. It has laid out how they will affect transport workers (see such as seafarers, dockers and aviation workers, by undermining maritime cabotage rules that support vital national marine trades and knowledge, and throwing open nations’ ports and airports to predatory corporate raiders. The Federation has also allied itself with other international union organisations that have exposed the trade pacts’ agenda of promoting unwanted privatisation and liberalisation (see

ITF president Paddy Crumlin commented: “TiSA and CETA are a threat to all that trade unions hold dear – secure, safe and worthwhile jobs and the preservation of essential and hard fought standards. No one should be surprised that we have pledged to go from this meeting and continue the fight against them.”

ITF general secretary Steve Cotton said: “Unions must keep up the pressure on TiSA and CETA and this event in Panama has been well timed and placed to assist with that, as the TiSA negotiators meet in Washington and the deadline for parties to submit their second revised market access offers falls tomorrow – not to mention the Belgium vote. Rarely have so many opportunities for us to be heard in pointing out the secretive and unjust nature at the core of these talks lined up together.”

Photos of delegates pledging to stop TiSA and CETA can be seen at and the ITF Panama meeting can be followed on Twitter using the hashtag #ITFPanamaEB.

 source: ITF