Opposing TTIP

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2015 Water, Environment & Transport Service Group
23 February 2015

Conference notes the continuing action being taken by the European Union and the United States Government officials in relation to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – and opposes, as a matter of principle, the deregulation and privatisation agenda which so clearly lies at its heart. TTIP is particularly pertinent to UNISON members working in the water industry, for the Environment Agencies and in transport because of the threat it poses to public services and regulatory standards. Were the deal to be implemented in the form currently reported it could have a serious detrimental impact on terms and conditions of WET members.

The details of TTIP are not fully known to the public, not least because of the secretive nature of negotiations between the US and the EU. However, we know that TTIP is intended to introduce Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms. Conference believes that such mechanisms are a direct threat to democratic decision making in the running of public services and utilities. ISDS mechanisms would allow private investors to submit tribunal complaints regarding the actions of Governments and public bodies where corporations believe they unfairly interfere with commercial activities. This tribunal process would bypass national courts and would have a chilling effect on future action to regulate markets. It has the potential to lock in privatisation because Governments and commissioning bodies would not want to risk being the target of an ISDS complaint.

Conference notes that TTIP includes the goal of “mutual recognition” of regulations. This threatens the much higher regulatory standards on chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food, environmental protection and public health which currently exist in the EU, compared to those in the USA. TTIP proposals include the prospect of “Regulatory Cooperative Councils” which enforce “regulatory coherence” between the two trading blocks. This would mean that regulators such as OFWAT would be hamstrung should they wish to take decisive regulatory action.

Conference calls on the WET Executive to:

– work with UNISON’s International Unit to support the campaign to stop TTIP

– raise awareness among UNISON WET members about TTIP and the campaign to oppose it

– ensure UNISON WET members know that TTIP could have a very negative impact on job numbers and terms and conditions in their workplaces

– Lobby MPs, MEPs and Ministers to highlight the threats posed by this deal and to oppose its implementation