Trade Union Congress General Secretary Frances Oâ€™Grady has warned that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would level down employment rights and labour laws.
Giving evidence to the House Of Commons parliamentary committee looking at TTIP she pointed out that the USA has only ratified two of eight fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) with key conventions such as the right to organise unions and secure collective bargaining, as well as the minimum age convention being ignored by the USA.
O’Grady said : â€śUS workers were disadvantaged compared to the social provisions in the EU”.
She said that TTIP should seek to level-up on standards.
Giving an incident in South Korea in December 2013, when Korean police attackedÂ national trade union offices with tear gas detaining more than 100 striking railway workers when the EU and South Korea entered into a free trade agreement only two years earlier.
“It appears the enforcement of labour standards amounts to strongly worded letters. We need to be clear about what the objective of the trade agreement is. We’re looking for opportunities to increase fair trade, wages and living standards,” O’Grady said.
She called for more incremental, inclusive discussions, conducted on a sector-by-sector basis and with the full involvement of all “social partners”.
EU and US officials have frequently said that TTIP does not pose a threat to standards â€“ environmental, social or labour.