Unions call for transparency in trade agreement negotiations

Unions are calling for the United Kingdom-New Zealand trade negotiations to prioritise decent jobs and the protection of working peoples rights and public services, as the second round of talks begin today by video.

The U.K. is also negotiating separately with Australia for a similar agreement. Trade unions in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand have come together to call for negotiations to prioritise the needs of working people. In a joint statement, the UK Trades Union Congress (TUC), Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), and New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) call for transparency and consultation with trade unions on the text of negotiations.

CTU President Richard Wagstaff comments, “We are calling for transparency and consultation with trade unions on the text of negotiations. In order for this trade deal to proceed it must lock in in the highest standard of workers’ rights. By preventing trade competition based on a race to the bottom on rights, it will benefit working people all over the world.”

“It is vital that all our international relationships reflect the reality that Covid-19 and the global financial crisis have graphically demonstrated. The global pandemic has showed the importance of strong public services, of our health system, our need for greater self-reliance in medical supplies and other important goods and services, and the importance of preventing abuse of working people’s labour rights.”

“It’s vital this agreement protects and strengthens our public services and state-owned enterprises, enables us to develop our own industries, and has enforceable labour rights provisions,” Wagstaff said.

The full statement from TUC-ACTU-NZCTU is available here: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-09/ACTU_NZCTU_TUC_Statement_UK_Trade_Talks_p3.pdf

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