It was a pleasure to welcome John Hilary from War on Want to the UNISON Regional Centre to provide an update on TTIP this week. John is an engaging and informative speaker as well as a tireless campaigner against TTIP. UNISON is working closely with War on Want to highlight the dangers of TTIP to the ability of governments to provide services in-house, to act in the public interest and to implement effective environmental, employment and consumer protections.
John described how TTIP negotiations still potentially have years to run before a deal could be done. Our role is to keep public attention on TTIP so that negotiators in the EU and US know there is widespread opposition to a neoliberal free trade zone.
Something we can all do at the moment is sign the European Citizens’ Initiative against TTIP. It only takes a minute and 2.3million people have already signed it across Europe. Here’s a link: https://stop-ttip.org/
As UNISON, we have a role to play in influencing our local councils to stand up against TTIP. We should be in no doubt that TTIP poses a threat to our local democracy. The European Commission is keen to negotiate access to US local markets by ending ‘Buy America’ schemes. Opening up local procurement in the US would also mean that councils here may be required to commission on the basis of price alone. This would constrain the ability of local councils to try to pursue objectives such as decent wages or local economic performance. For all the talk of greater local powers through devolution, TTIP could potentially undermine the ability of our councils to improve local communities.
Global Justice Now and UNISON have produced a briefing on the impact of TTIP on local government. It includes a model motion that we need to encourage our councils to pass. It is available here: TTIP and Local Government Briefing
TTIP is a threat to us all and it is crucial that we help keep up the pressure against it. We can do a lot as individuals and as a union. Please do what you can.