Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Unions ask the tough questions about the TPPA

Media Release

12 December 2012

Unions ask the tough questions about the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement

Unions represented in Auckland for the 15th round of negotiations for the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) say that what they have observed leaves them highly concerned at the direction of the agreement.

“Many of the proposals would undermine good, well-paid jobs, public services, affordable medicines and public health, and our ability to make laws and regulations in the public interest. They would cut off options for the sustainable development of our economies. Instead the proposals give greater power to large corporations and fleet-footed investors who would have little interest in creating good jobs and improving social conditions,” said Bill Rosenberg, Policy Director at the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.

“Government procurement, investment, intellectual property and financial services are just some of the areas where our sovereignty is up for grabs. And proposals to give corporations the right to sue governments which introduce good public policy give unions huge concerns. We support the Australian government in refusing to accept this provision,” says Bill Rosenberg.

“If the agreement goes ahead, unions are adamant that it must contain a labour chapter that gives strongly enforceable protection to workers. These must be based at a minimum on the core International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions,” says Mike Dolan, from the Teamsters Union which represents 1.4 million workers in the US and Canada.

Mike Dolan said “we met with labour chapter negotiators from many of the countries involved in the negotiations. Many aspects are still missing, not just ILO conventions. We need stronger rules to protect migrant workers from exploitation in host countries. We also need an institution to oversee the working of the chapter and monitor trends in labour conditions in the region. We have not seen evidence that the TPPA will contain improved processes to ensure complaints are effectively and efficiently dealt with.”

“Most importantly it is clear that some of the countries are still rejecting effective enforcement mechanisms. It will require political leadership to cut through these differences and attain an acceptable labour chapter,” Dolan said.

Andrew Dettmer, National President of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, expressed the unions’ deep concerns at the way the negotiations are being conducted. “Our talks on the labour chapter demonstrated the lack of transparency and democratic process in these negotiations”, he said.

“It is impossible to have a meaningful discussion about the merits and meaning of any complex legislation such as this without being able to see the draft text of the agreement. This is true of the labour chapter and it is true of the whole agreement. It is anti-democratic and archaic for international negotiations of such critically important matters to be carried out in such secrecy.”

“We know that many of the corporate beneficiaries of the agreement have much greater access to both text and negotiators than other members of our societies including unions. Governments should release the present state of the draft text of the agreement for public scrutiny before the next round,” said Dettmer.

The unions say they cannot support the TPPA if it continues in its current direction.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Greek Riddles:
Gordon Campbell On The Recent Smackdown Over Greece

There had been a fortnight of fevered buildup. Yet here we are in the aftermath of the February 28 showdown between the new Syriza government in Greece and the European Union “troika” and… no-one seems entirely sure what happened. Did the asteroid miss Earth?

It seems to have. The EU still exists. Syriza is now claiming a victory of sorts. It doesn’t help that the only people who do appear to be sure (the Greeks buckled) are claiming the exact opposite to what the other group (the Greeks won!) are saying. Plus, there are bets either way e.g. Bloomberg News: “Its too early to say who caved in to whom.” More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Statement: Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting

Prime Minister Key warmly welcomed Prime Minister Abbott and Mrs Abbott to New Zealand. The visit has enabled wide-ranging and substantive discussion that has underlined the strength, value, diversity and warmth of our trans-Tasman relationship. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: Peters To Stand In Northland By-Election

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has announced his intention to stand in the Northland by-election, citing his own links to the electorate and ongoing neglect of the region by central government. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza? More>>

ALSO:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Whether NZ Troops Are The Least Of Islamic State’s Problems

Given that it has been politically packaged and sold as a training mission, the Iraq deployment announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key seemed to be mysteriously short of actual trainers... The other wing of the argument is whether a troop deployment is (a) the only effective way and (b) the appropriate time to combat Islamic State. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news