TUC urges MEPs to vote against Investor-State Dispute Settlement

By agency reporter
June 9, 2015

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has written to MEPs calling on them to vote to make sure the European Parliament resolution on the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) clearly opposes Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

The letter from TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady also calls for MEPs to back protections for public services and labour standards during the debate in the European Parliament on 10 June.

The TUC is opposed in principle to a special court system solely for foreign investors, and therefore opposes ISDS and any 'alternatives' – such as those proposed by European Trade Commissioner Cecelia Malmström – which provide privileged access to dispute settlement for one group alone, rather than domestic courts and state-state dispute settlement.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The European Parliament must use this resolution to send a clear signal to the TTIP negotiators in the Commission that trade must be in the public interest, not for private profit.

“There must be no ISDS or any special court system for investors, clear protections for public services and no lowering of standards for workers, consumers and the environment. If the resolution does not contain these protections, MEPs must vote against it.”

Full text of the letter from TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady to UK MEPs:

Dear MEP

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - plenary vote

You will be aware that international trade is an important issue for trade unions in the UK. We have a long tradition of supporting free and fair trade, and we are therefore particularly concerned about TTIP, which our annual Congress last year voted to oppose, while seeking improvements and protections for working people.

This week in the European Parliament, you have the chance to give the European Commission and the Governments of Europe a clear indication of what the representatives of Europe's people want them to do, and I hope you will cast your votes in the public interest.

The most important votes will concern Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS.) The TUC is opposed in principle to a special court system solely for foreign investors, and we therefore oppose ISDS in particular but also any 'alternatives' - such as Commissioner Malmström’s - which provide privileged access to dispute settlement for one group alone, rather than domestic courts and state-state dispute settlement. I know that trade unionists across Europe and in the United States are united in opposition to ISDS, and that there is growing opposition among your counterparts in the US Congress.

I urge you to vote for Amendment 27, but also to support Amendments 114 and 115. Should the final report include ISDS I would urge you to reject it in the final vote, but if the final report excludes ISDS then MEPs should definitely support the report in the final vote, to send a clear mission to the EU's TTIP negotiators.

Secondly, we are of course concerned to protect public services, especially the NHS and health and education services generally, but also other public services. We think that voters should decide what is and is not part of the public sector, through their democratically-elected governments. The best way to do this is to use the 'positive list' approach, and I urge you to vote for Amendment 13 and support any other moves which replace 'hybrid' or 'negative' lists with 'positive' lists.

The TUC also wants the European Parliament to express support for no lowering of regulatory protections for workers, consumers or the environment, as well as binding and enforceable ILO standards, as already provided for in the INTA report you will be voting on.

It is vital that the European Commission and EU member state governments hear the voice of European citizens through the European Parliament, and I would welcome your assurance that you will be voting as suggested above. If you have any questions please get in touch.

Yours sincerely

Frances O'Grady

*TUC https://www.tuc.org.uk/

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