TTIP must be stopped – Unite the Union

Welcoming the launch of a People’s Movement information booklet on the proposed EU – US ‘Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’ (TTIP), Unite Regional Secretary jimmy Kelly today (Sunday September 7th) said that the job creation claims advanced by the treaty’s proponents do not stack up, and he warned that workers’ and citizens’ rights would take a backseat to corporate interests.

“It’s no wonder that there is a veil of secrecy over this treaty:  its advocates, both in the US and in the EU, know that citizens would not tolerate its proposed provisions.

“We all remember when the Government asked us to vote ‘YES for jobs’ to the Lisbon Treaty.  And we know how that ended.  TTIP has been billed by the European Commission as the ‘cheapest stimulus package imaginable’ -but the claims do not stack up.

“Let us be very clear:  There is no evidence that TTIP will create the jobs we need.  But what it may do is move jobs around – between sectors, and from countries with high labour and environmental standards to countries with low standards.  In this zero sum game, jobs will be shifted to locations guaranteeing the highest profit and the least regulatory inconvenience to corporations.  Rather than creating new jobs, there will be competition for the same jobs – generating a race to the bottom in which all are losers.

“The European Commission’s own impact assessment report acknowledges that TTIP would entail prolonged stagnation for European workers. It is estimated that up to 1.3 million workers could lose their jobs as a result of TTIP-generated jobs displacement, and the quality of any replacement jobs is likely to be lower.

“The German Hans Boeckler Foundation has looked at the various job projections and concluded that any overall job gains would be, to use their term, ‘negligible’.

“And the standard of existing employment could be compromised: workers may face new threats, since TTIP may enable corporations to challenge national policies designed to protect workers – policies which reduce their capacity to turn a profit.  So, while profits are protected and enhanced, the wages and consumer demand needed to generate growth will actually be dampened.

“In addition, TTIP is likely to incorporate Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms.  ISDS mechanisms are a one-way street – a street in which corporations have right of way, while workers and citizens must give way.  Using these mechanisms, corporations may be able to sue states for policies which affect their profits – but neither states, not citizens, nor trade unions, can sue corporations for policies which impact on local communities, or on workers’ rights, or on the environment.

“TTIP poses a clear and present danger to jobs, to workers, to the environment, to the Global South – and to democracy in Europe and in Ireland.  It must be stopped”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.