Many thanks to Huddersfield TUC who invited us to speak at their AGM on February 23rd. It was fitting that the event took place in Kirklees Unison’s offices, considering that the ‘TTIP Free Zone’ campaign in the UK was co-organised by Unison and Global Justice Now.
We outlined the risks posed by TTIP generally, the ‘TTIP Free’ iniative and what has happened in the campaign over the past six months. We also discussed our next steps and offered ways in which people could get involved.
Thirty four councils across the country have passed motions opposing TTIP. Global Justice Now’s TTIP briefing for local authorities (co-written with UNISON) outlines the ways in which TTIP could adversely affect:
- The powers of local authorities- should further devolution take place- to make decisions such as taking health services back into public control.
- Local government’s power in making planning decisions (such as Lancashire County Council’s decision on Cuadrilla’s fracking applications in 2015)
- Local government’s decision making regarding procurement, particularly decisions that could benefits local small and medium sized businesses and decisions based on environmental and social considerations.
Trade Unions have a critical role to play in opposing TTIP and this is evident in the fact that Unison co-organised the ‘TTIP Free Zone’ initiative with Global Justice Now.
After a short presentation (Presentation to Huddersfield TUC( 23 Feb 16)) we had a good discussion. We also shared resources including materials from Global Justice Now, 38 Degrees and War on Want
Six days later (29th February), we held a stall at Kirklees UNISON’s AGM at the Town Hall. Many thanks to Kirklees UNISON for inviting us to their event. It was a valuable opportunity to build on the TTIP work that UNISON has done nationally (see above) and further spread the word about the trade deal and TTIP action among local UNISON members. We appreciate the warm support many attendees gave to the “TTIP Free Zone” petition.
As War on Want have said, “TTIP will change our lives forever.” The good news is that, probably more than any previous trade deal, people have realised this and are mobilising against it. Politicians have been totally taken aback by the level of opposition to TTIP and even people who do not oppose TTIP outright, like the Labour MEPs in our region, welcome the spotlight it has put on elements they object to, like ISDS and regulatory convergence.
There are many things that you can do to make sure that TTIP does not change our lives forever: read about it, talk about it, sign up to petitions, attend demonstrations and lobby MPs and MEPs. One of all these things that people do is to ensure that city by city, from Los Angeles to Louisiana and from Krakow to Kirklees local authorities have said, ‘We know what TTIP could do to local democracy and we say No!’.
If you have not already done so, please sign the ‘TTIP Free Kirklees’ petition here www.ttipfreezone.org .
Thanks to Amin for this graphic.
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