Say No to TTIP

23 June 2014

Oppose unjustified privileges for private investors

Although trade and investment agreements impact on almost every aspect of our daily life, trade unions and civil society organisations are not actively involved in trade talks because the European Commission prefers to negotiate behind closed doors. This is particularly true for negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the United States– the largest bilateral trade and investment agreement ever negotiated. This agreement could give unfair leverage to multinational transport companies in which ASLEF members are employed such as Stagecoach, National Express and First Group.

Democratically unjustifiable and unacceptable

The strong economic links between the EU and US show that there is no need for an investment promotion policy like TTIP. One of the most contested elements of the TTIP is the so-called “investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)”. This is a provision that enables foreign investors to sue the states where they have made investments if they can show that regulations introduced by the host country reduce their investment potential(including expected profits). This could prevent governments from passing legislation which would address employment rights, health and environmental protection, or human rights.

Negotiations behind closed doors, no involvement of trade unions and civil society

It was only after protests by individuals, trade unions and civil society groups that the European Commission launched a public consultation on the mechanism. However, this consultation does not ask the public whether or not we want investor-state dispute settlements, only how to make ISDS better. The 13 technical questions are difficult to answer for anyone who is not an investment specialist, making it highly problematic, from a democratic point of view, to participate in the consultation.

In response, the Austrian trade union confederation,working with Friends of the Earth, have designed an online tool that allows individual trade unionists to make a submission to the European Commission consultation – answering the questions, but making the overall point that we oppose ISDS altogether. ASLEF has already done so as a union. The website allows for individual contributions to be submitted without people having to fill in the lengthy electronic form provided by the European Commission.

The tool is at www.no2isds.eu from now until the 6 July. To take part, all you need to do is to fill in your contact details and click the ‘take action’ button. You will be taking part in joint action with trade unionists and citizens all over Europe.

For more information visit www.no2isds.eu/en/information

 

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