A delegation of senior Unite officials representing regions across the UK are travelling to Brussels to press MEPs to ‘turn up the volume’ to demand the European Commission and David Cameron carve the NHS and other public services out of TTIP.
The meetings get underway as the 11th round of TTIP negotiations between Europe and the US get underway in Miami, Florida on 19 October.
The chair of Unite Tony Woodhouse, and a delegation of Unite regional chairs from the North West, North East, South East, Wales and the South West will meet Labour MEPs, officials from the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP), the Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder and the Social and Democratic Group of MEPs, including the Trade Committee Chair Bernd Lange.
The European Commission has so far refused to fully exempt the NHS and public services from TTIP even though the European Parliament voted for the exemption in its TTIP report in June. (see notes to editors)
Chair of Unite Tony Woodhouse said: “MEPs need to turn up the volume to demand concrete action from the Commission and David Cameron to carve the NHS out of TTIP and protect our health service from irreversible privatisation.
“Unite’s regional chairs are also in Brussels to outline the depth of opposition across the UK’s towns and cities to the NHS being part of TTIP. From Dorset to Dumfrieshire there have been protests against the NHS being put at the mercy of private US health companies and Wall Street investors.
Poll after poll shows the British people want a carve out for the NHS so it’s high time MEPs began demanding concrete action from David Cameron and the European Commission.”
The ‘Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’ trade deal is being negotiated behind closed doors, between EU bureaucrats and delegates from the United States. It is the largest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated and threatens to make the on-going privatisation of the NHS irreversible. TTIP could grant American multinationals, or any firm with American investors, the power to sue the government if it ever attempted to take privatised health services back into public ownership.
Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Notes to editors: All Labour MEPs have an agreed line that the NHS and other public services should be ‘carved out’ of (fully exempted from) TTIP. They successfully pushed the rest of European Parliament to demand a ‘carve out’ for public services in the recent EP Report on TTIP in June this year. Importantly this made it clear that, services (like many NHS services) would still be exempted as ‘public’ when they are privately funded. Unfortunately, this report only counts as ‘guidance’ and the European Commission is not obliged to follow it.
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.