Delegates at a packed conference in Manchester’s Methodist Central Hall, organised by War on Want, entered into lively discussions and workshops with the sole purpose of building the fight against the secretive negotiations between the US and EU to bring the Transatlantic Treaty and Investment Partnership (TTIP) into existence.
Speaker after speaker referred to the economic and political devastation facing workers in Europe and the US if these talks, held in the utmost secrecy, actually result in a signed agreement. Numerous references were made to the attack on democracy, the threat to public services like health and education when new markets are opened up by privatisation and threats to food safety, the environment and the climate.
TTIP would remove most financial regulations, allowing global banking interests the freedom to extend their parasitic speculation in debt transfers. Workers’ rights would be reduced to US levels and corporations could relocate to the US states and EU countries with the lowest labour standards. Conference agreed that TTIP cannot be merely amended, but must be rejected as a whole.
The TUC has already passed a motion rejecting TTIP, but the resolve in our unions must be strengthened and we should use all avenues including MPs and MEPs to raise awareness of what is at stake. The run-up to the General Election provides a context for trade unionists, political activists and campaigners to call to account those who wish us to vote for them.