- 2015 Local Government Service Group Conference
- 18 February 2015
- Carried as Amended
Conference notes that negotiations are underway between the European Union (EU) and the United States on a new trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which could serve as a model for all future trade agreements.
TTIP will not just remove trade tariffs but would also harmonise regulatory standards; open markets in the service sector which would include public services; open up public procurement markets; introduce the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism allowing multinational investors to challenge state actions which they perceive as threatening their investments and erode the ability of national governments to act in the public interest – which could make it impossible for a future government to reverse damaging legislation. The issues are complex and conference believes that the majority of members and the general public do not understand the implications.
History has shown that women are unduly penalised when trade agreements aimed at “liberating” inter-country trade are signed. Under TTIP, women’s access to essential services such as healthcare and education and their access to workplace rights could be severely limited. Pay, pensions and other terms and conditions may also be affected in the “race to the bottom”.
In addition to the further privatisation of services, which history has shown to penalise women workers in particular, services such as environmental health and food safety regulation may also be adversely impacted as existing standards are challenged and reduced.
Conference calls upon the service group executive to work with the NEC and all other appropriate bodies to:-
1)Raise awareness of the threat TTIP poses to public services and the public interest;
2)Campaign for the rejection of TTIP;
3)Produce campaign materials which clarify and simplify the issues, explain the dangers and why UNISON is opposed to the agreement as it stands.