‘TTIP needs to be on every Probation meeting agenda and opposition has to be total’ wrote Suzanne McCarthy, retired Napo member in a letter to Napo News earlier this year – in response to an article she red in the magazine last year ‘TTIP and the threat to probation services’.
The fundamental campaign against TTIP that Suzanne calls for is now well under way, almost 2.5 million people in the European Union have signed a petition against this deal that will force governments to put public services — such as the NHS — out to tender.
Despite this level of opposition the EU have trampled over the views of its citizens. In July social democrat MEPs split over a vote on TTIP, when the European Parliament voted by 436 to 241 in favour of a motion on establishing a corporate court to deal with the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) aspect of the proposed treaty. This clause allows any investor to sue a government if the investor feels they are being blocked from making profit in cases where they feel they have not had ‘fair and equitable’ treatment, including health and safety standards. It effectively elevates transnational capital to a status equivalent to the nation-state itself, and threatens to undermine the most basic principles of democracy in the EU and USA alike. The TUC and other trade unions around Europe backed amendments that would reject ISDS, strengthen workers’ rights, and stop TTIP being used to reduce standards.
Napo’s Health and Safety Committee is concerned about the impact of TTIP on workplace safety and have written a motion to this years Napo AGM about this. The TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson, explains the impact of TTIP on workplace safety as follows:
The two main points of concern on health and safety are the reduction in standards and the possible provisions to allow companies to sue governments in secretive courts. TTIP could result in the harmonisation of many health and safety regulations, including chemicals, or introduce a system of mutual recognition which would have the effect of harmonising standards down to the lowest common denominator. Given that the EU has, on average, one third of the workplace fatality rate of the USA this could be devastating. In part our better safety rate is because of the stronger regulatory framework, and we need to protect, and extend that
Family Court and probation members have good reason to oppose TTIP. The treaty will destroy the basic premise of the welfare state. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 provides for the most lucrative parts of health and social care provision to be privatised — all part of establishing a two-tier welfare system where the rich pay for high-quality services while the poor are left with substandard and badly resourced services.
Discussions around TTIP are concluded at the end of 2015. So we don’t have much time to stop the treaty. Please sign the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Stop TTIP’ petition, take part in the European Day of Action against TTIP against TTIP on 10 October, lobby your MP and MEP and support the motion on TTIP from Health and Safety committee at this years Napo AGM.