UK government urged unions to join secret groups advising on trade deals days after The independent revealed that the bodies had been excluded for over a year.
These groups allowed company representatives to review key details and some draft text of trade agreements. They were consulted on a range of issues raised by the government’s willingness to enter into agreements with Australia, New Zealand and other members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
However, since August last year, unions have been blocked from these meetings, preventing them from sharing information on labor and workers’ rights with the Department of International Trade (DIT) on details of their negotiations. .
This exclusion also occurred despite promises made to union representatives to be able to join these advisory groups, and reported by The independent Last week.
Now, after a change of course, Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss has invited unions to participate in some of these secret groups.
A DIT spokesperson said: ‘It is important that we listen to a range of voices – including workers – to ensure that our trade policy is effective for the whole of the UK, and respects and promotes our standards. high work. That’s why we invite unions to join our Trade Advisory Groups (TAGs).
“We already engage consistently with unions, as well as business, industry, civil society and other willing stakeholders. Getting different perspectives will ensure that we negotiate the best possible trade deals that support sustainable economic growth, ”they added.
“We have always said that we will keep the structure of our advisory groups under review and will continue to do so to ensure that our trade policy benefits the UK and our workers as much as possible,” the spokesperson said.
While in some countries, such as the United States, it is legally obligatory to consult with unions and other civil society groups on the details of trade agreements, this is not the case in the United Kingdom.
On August 26, 2020, the government cut its previous trade advisory groups and created new ones, which excluded unions from sensitive details. He then created a separate group for union representatives, which was not allowed to obtain detailed information on trade negotiations, according to the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
“It has been over a year since the trade advisory groups were first established. It is beyond comprehension that the unions still have no seats at the table for more than eight months since the government promised the unions would be involved, ”said Rosa Crawford, TUC’s trade policy manager. The independent Last week.
The TUC has said it is ready to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that the government is asking TAG members to agree to. These nondisclosure agreements are intended to prevent details of the negotiations from being disclosed and potentially undermine the UK’s negotiating position.
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This notice was published: 2021-09-06 17:20:42