Labour Research December 2016

Health & Safety Matters

Trade deal

Following the temporary blocking in October of the Canada-European Union CETA trade agreement as a result of opposition led by the Belgian Wallonia region, UK unions have called for a new approach to trade post-Brexit. 

Unions are concerned that international trade deals like CETA could undermine health and safety standards, as well as workers’ rights and consumer and environmental protection, and open the door to more privatisation.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said a new approach to trade that “creates good jobs and protects public services and workers’ rights” was only possible if “trade unions are meaningfully involved in negotiations from the start”.

In addition, public services union UNISON called for full parliamentary scrutiny and approval of any trade agreements before the UK signs them. 

CETA was signed at the end of October 2016 and will be debated and voted on in the European Parliament in February 2017.