TTIP would be a blow to democracy

IMPACT trade union is to warn of the threat the proposed trade deal between Europe and the US, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), poses to Irish society in a seminar in the European Parliament Offices, today (Friday 17th April 2015).

The seminar, organised by MEP Nessa Childers, takes place in Dublin. The day after, Saturday 18th April, is Global Action Day Against TTIP wherein more than 500 events have been organised worldwide.

Kevin Callinan, deputy general secretary of IMPACT will represent the Irish Congress of Trade Unions at the event, where he will focus on employment rights and how the agreement would affect public services if put in place.

Speaking ahead of the seminar Mr Callinan said “Trade unions do not oppose free trade but, as currently constructed, the proposed TTIP is fundamentally anti-democratic and constitutes a real threat to sovereignty. The balance is tilted heavily towards big business and away from the ordinary citizen.

Mr Callinan pointed to a number of specific aspects of the agreement that caused alarm. He said “the additional ‘investor protections’ in the Agreement go above and beyond the property rights already enjoyed by companies and threaten democracy, labour rights and public services.

“Democracy would be breached by corporate control as the government, afraid of being sued, would have its hands tied in the creation of legislation. Companies who would claim compensation from the state would not even do so in the courts of law but in secret unaccountable arbitration known as ISDS.

IMPACT is the largest public sector trade union in Ireland and according to Mr Callinan TTIP would erode public service provision.  He said “TTIP aims to further liberalise the trade in services, including public services. The world is becoming a more insecure place by the day, this agreement would solidify that reality for our children.

Mr Callinan finished by saying “Whatever basic protections workers enjoy would come under pressure. No agreement is worth the effects this one would have on our society, especially when the case for economic growth is by no means certain.”