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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

TTIP needs international union response

#stuc15 UNISON NEC member Jane Carolan reminded the STUC in Ayr today about the need for an international response to the TTIP “assault on democratic government”.

A composite from four unions and four local TUCs called on the STUC to campaign against TTIP, support an international protest in Paris in December and to call for politicians who have an interest in the privatisation to declare an interest and abstain on voting on TTIP.

At a time when it is so hard to get the TTIP debate into mainstream debates, Jane Carolan's speech laid out the sinister threats succinctly and starkly. It is printed in full below...

"If you can get politicians to talk about TTIP at all - it’s about a treaty seeking to improve international trade they say.

But it’s a secret treaty hidden from politicians and negotiated by the EU trade commissioners in secret. These politicians who want to read it have to attend a special location where it’s available in numbered copies for reading only in that location. What was that to do with democracy, transparency and accountability?

TTIP is negotiated on a take or leave it basis.

Neither the European institutions or the national parliaments can amend it - they can only accept or reject it.

Congress, this is not just a trade treaty, this is a very special trade treaty.

To quote John Hilary of War on Want TTIP is better thought of as an assault on European and US societies buy transnational companies.

It is an assault on any society - that in any way

• Seeks to tackle equality
• provides any level of social protection
• provides rights for the labour as well as capital

The intentions of this treaty are clear

It seeks to open all of Europe’s public services to privatisation by the transnationals
Not just health, but
Any services provided from general taxation for public good. Contrary to past practice, unless a service has been specifically excluded it can be liberalised, and experience has taught how difficult exclusion can be in practice.
And in this treaty once services have gone they are gone for good. Market liberalisation cannot be reversed because of the so called Ratchet clause, that once the service is privatised this cannot be reversed. So no rail nationalisation, no reversal of the Health and Social Care Act.

The treaty threatens environment and public health standards - they are barriers to trade.

The treaty threatens European Labour standards and trade union rights. They are barriers to trade.

And just make sure that things go capitals way the treaty includes investor protection and the INVESTOR STATE DISPUTE SETTLEMENT

Put in lay-mans terms, this means simply multi-nationals can make complaints against democratically passed laws in front of a privatised legal system run by private lawyers making rulings regardless of international law.
Don’t like NMW? Take a complaint under Investor State Dispute Mechanism. Don’t fancy an extended public health service. Take a complaint. And these are real examples under current treaties.

This is not justice but barely disguised coercion designed to push the multi national agenda. This is an assault on democratic government.

That’s what we need to oppose.

And in social media, in communities around the country, TTIP campaigns are up and running, exposing the secret of the treaty and its chilling implications, campaigns in which Trade Unions play a vital part.

And as trade unions we can make that campaign international.

just over a year ago at the EPSU Congress, UNISON and the GMB sponsored a TTIP fringe expecting perhaps our usual sister unions, CGT Verdi Gigil

It was not however the usual suspect, but delegates from across the EU and from a very wide variety of trade union confederations

There was a determination that day to conduct a European wide campaign of opposition to the treaty

- based on shared values of social justice
- commitment to publicly owner publicity accountable [pubic provided services

And in our respective national situations and through public service international that campaign has been vigorously pursued.
UNISON has had similar discussion with US counterparts including the Teamsters, based on the same principles was part of an international TU delegation testifying on the treaty in Congress itself before the relevant congressional committee.

Our coalitions have played a major role in domestic campaigning and solidarity of international level.

Where corporations are acting multinationally

Trade union must act in unity and solidarity across international borders

Together we can defeat this so called treaty