This video is about the plans for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
By Will Stone in Britain:
Friday 20th June 2014
PRIVATE companies could hold Britain’s public services to ransom in a proposed trade deal between the EU and the US that would allow big businesses to sue the government, Unison warned yesterday.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would allow swathes of public services — including the NHS, education and social services — to be opened up to private contracts, conference heard.
And a clause — the Investor-State Dispute Settlement — would allow multinational companies that take over public services to sue the government if their contract was threatened.
The free trade agreement “going on behind closed doors” between the EU and US will promote deregulation and undermine workers’ rights, warned Unison executive member Stephen Kennedy.
East Midlands delegate Roz Norman said the proposed agreement would make it easier for companies and countries to invest in each other’s economy.
“It’s designed to protect corporations at the expense of workers,” she said.
“Once TTIP is agreed, governments could be faced with a lawsuit saying their polices impinge on their company profits.”
Ms Norman warned that the NHS is “extremely vulnerable” to this agreement with corporations having internationally guaranteed rights to challenge any move to reverse health privatisation.
This could potentially scupper Labour’s promise to reverse the Tory-drafted Health and Social Care Act that allows private companies to bid for NHS contracts.
“Cameron says everything is on the table for TTIP including the NHS,” added Ms Norman.
Stockport delegate Holly Rae pointed out that TTIP is not an entirely new threat but “builds on the existing EU privatisation and deregulation.”
Somerset’s Belinda Burton said the new laws being discussed between politicians and big corporate lobbyists were designed to “protect damage to profits.”
And Glasgow’s Chris Stevens warned TTIP would have “catastrophic implications for public services” not just here in Britain but across Europe.
He added: “Can you imagine Donald Trump having a say in our public services? Get lost.”
Other delegates expressed concern about its implications for workers’ pay, conditions and health and safety with progress ono women’s rights at work “going to shreds.”
Unison was called upon to launch a formal campaign to have public services excluded from the agreement and for the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism to be removed.