US and UK unions call for trade deal that delivers for workers

  • Deal with EU should be UK’s priority, union leaders agree
  • Bad deal with US will put jobs, rights and public services at risk

US union leader Rich Trumka has today (Friday) joined forces with the British TUC to warn the White House and Downing Street that any trade deal must put workers’ jobs and rights first.

EU Deal

The TUC and AFL-CIO – union federations which together represent over 18 million workers – agree that the UK’s priority should be negotiating a good trade deal with the EU.

The EU deal should establish a level playing field on workers’ rights, protect jobs by preserving frictionless trade in goods and services, protect public services and ensure there’s no hard border in Northern Ireland.

The TUC has warned the government that, because US and EU standards diverge so dramatically, a trade deal that locks the UK into US-style regulations could prevent the government from negotiating the strongest possible relationship with the EU.

US Deal

The statement also outlines a series of key requirements for any UK-US deal, including:

  • Enforceable commitments to protect workers’ rights.
  • Exclusion of all public services, including the NHS, transport and education.
  • Exclusion of all kinds of special courts which allow foreign investors to sue governments for actions that threaten their profits, such as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) or the Investment Court System (ICS).
  • Commitment from both governments to support the Paris Agreement on climate change.

To ensure that these requirements are met and that the deal prioritises the interests of working people, the TUC and AFL-CIO are calling on both governments to consult with unions before beginning negotiations.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“A decent deal with the EU must be the government’s priority – not selling off our NHS to Donald Trump.

“Boris Johnson shouldn’t be rushing into talks with the US to make a political point.

“A bad trade deal with the US will put working people’s jobs and rights on the line and undermine our vital public services, environment and food standards.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:

“Workers on both sides of the Atlantic are united in calling for a high-standard trade deal that creates jobs, raises wages, and guarantees workers’ fundamental right to organise trade unions.

“US and UK unions demand fair trade and will vigorously oppose any deal that seeks to promote the narrow interests of multinational corporations over those of working people.”

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