Labour Research March 2017

Union news

Opposition to CETA continues

Unions have vowed to continue to oppose the EU-Canada trade deal known as CETA when it comes to their national parliaments.

Last month, 12 general secretaries from UK trade unions wrote to Labour MEPs to ask them to vote against ratifying the agreement in the European Parliament. They said that CETA “gives vast new powers to corporations, including to any US business interests currently operating in Canada and the EU — which includes Donald Trump’s hotel business”. But it fails to address trade union concerns about the enforceability of labour rights.

The letter was not enough to stop the trade deal being approved by the European Parliament. But when it comes back to the UK parliament, the TUC will push for “more meaningful trade union involvement in consideration about the implications of CETA for workers”. 

Meanwhile, a union whose members are spread across the UK, Ireland, Canada and the United States has expressed concern about fast-track trade deals between the three countries.

Workers Uniting, the global union formed by the Unite general union and the United Steelworkers in North America, has set “red lines” for a trade deal which includes strengthening of labour standards, health and safety and environmental protections.

The union also calls for “strong and sustainable long-term industrial policies” in the four countries.