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EU-US trade deal would threaten workers’ rights, public services and local democracy

Across the country, local councils are standing up and calling for an end to the controversial TTIP trade deal which would increase the power of multinational corporations at the expense of workers’ rights, environmental protection and local democracy.

On Tuesday 10th November Green Councillors will take a motion to Council, calling for Bristol to join the TTIP free zone, as part of the Global Justice Now campaign against TTIP.

Councillor Anna McMullen, who tabled the motion to Council said: 

“Workers’ rights are being attacked on all sides. While the trade union bill threatens to further undermine the ability of the unions to protect their workers, the TTIP trade deal threatens to undermine labour standards across Europe.  The deal could also prevent local authorities from choosing to allow environmental and social considerations, such as choosing to buy fairtrade or organic, when awarding contracts.”

Greens have been fighting TTIP at local, national and EU level. South West MEP Molly Scott Cato has been working with Green politicians from across Europe to oppose the deal in the European Parliament commented: 

“Over three million European citizens have called for the EU to stop negotiating this trade deal in their name. I would be delighted if Bristol Council added its name to the many opposing TTIP.

Earlier this year I was allowed to see the “top secret” TTIP documents, which EU citizens have been prevented from seeing, but only after I was required to sign a document swearing me to secrecy. This means I am not allowed to disclose what I have seen. However I can say that the experience did not leave me with any sense of reassurance, either that the process of negotiating this trade deal is democratic, or that the negotiators are operating on behalf of citizens. TTIP is a corporate charter and we must do all we can against this treaty that is a serious threat to our democracy, workers’ rights and our environmental standards.”

Councillor McMullen continued: “We feel it is wrong that deals are being made that will restrict national and local government’s ability to conduct its own affairs, and yet no Councillors or MPs are allowed to scrutinise the documents or input into the negotiations”. 

 

Notes 


FULL COUNCIL MOTION – 10 NOVEMBER 2015

  1. Establishing Bristol as a TTIP free zone


This council notes:

  1. That the EU and USA launched negotiations in July 2013 on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
  2. That negotiations are underway to determine which goods and services TTIP will apply to and if new rules can be agreed to protect investors, harmonise standards, reduce tariffs and open new markets throughout the EU and USA. 
  3. That there has been no impact assessment about the potential impact on local authorities.
  4. That there has been no scrutiny of the negotiating texts by local government and no consultation with local government representatives
  5. That MPs are also unable to scrutinise the negotiating documents.

This council believes that:

  1. TTIP could have a detrimental impact on local services, employment, suppliers and decision-making.
  2. A thorough impact assessment of TTIP on local authorities must be undertaken before the negotiations can be concluded.
  3. The proposed Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism has been used by corporations to overturn democratic decisions by all levels of governments at significant public cost. Local decision-making must be protected from ISDS. 
  4. The EU’s food, environmental and labour standards are better than those in the US and TTIP negotiations must raise and not lower these standards across the EU and USA.
  5. Sourcing supplies and employment locally is important to strengthening local economies and meeting local needs. TTIP must not impact on local authorities’ ability to act in the best interests its communities.

This council resolves:

  1. To write to the secretary of state for communities and local government, local MPs, and all South West MEPs raising our serious concerns about the impact of TTIP on local authorities and the secrecy of the negotiating process. 
  2. To write to the local government association to raise our serious concerns about the impact of TTIP on local authorities and ask them to raise these with government on our behalf.
  3. To call for an impact assessment of TTIP on local authorities.
  4. To publicise the council’s concerns about TTIP; join with other local authorities which are opposed to TTIP across Europe and work with local campaigners to raise awareness about the problems of TTIP. 

Motion to be moved by Cllr McMullen

Date of submission: 30 October 2015

 

Image from Federation of European Young Greens

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