Workers Uniting, the global union formed by the United Steelworkers (USW) in North America and Unite the union in the UK and Ireland, representing more than two million workers in Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States, recognises that the election of president Trump and the decision of the UK government to pursue a hard Brexit have dramatically altered the global political and trading environment in which workers and trade unions will need to operate.
In this context, Workers Uniting is becoming extremely concerned by the increasing talk of a fast track trade deal between the US and the UK. Both USW and Unite were ardent opponents of the CETA, TTIP and TPP trade deals which were designed to enhance protections for corporations at the expense of workers, and weaken the ability of countries to protect the health and welfare of their citizens. Democratic and transparent dispute resolution, strengthening of labour standards, health and safety and environmental protections, and protections for public services are red lines for Workers Uniting and we call on negotiators to respect them in the discussion of any new trade deal.
Workers Uniting calls for strong and sustainable long-term industrial policies to be adopted in the US, UK, Canada and Ireland. These policies must direct government investment to skills training, research, industrial development projects, and strategies that support manufacturing firms, products and supply chains. A coherent industrial policy that identifies and commits to protect and maintain manufacturing will create jobs and help rebuild economies and communities.
Workers Uniting strongly opposes the rise of the nationalistic and xenophobic rhetoric in all of our countries. In a time of immense upheaval and uncertainty Workers Uniting calls on our governments to make clear their commitment to respect and equal treatment of people regardless of religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
At our 2016 Congress, we resolved to build a global campaign in defence of trade union and human rights against the attacks of right-wing governments, based on the demand of respect for international labour standards and including the responsibility of global corporations to adhere to these standards. Today we reaffirm that commitment, as well as our solidarity with Mexican workers whose struggle to form democratic trade unions faces severe repression. We also call on the UK government to recognise the special and delicate status of Ireland in the process of Brexit and we support calls for no hard border or any undermining of the peace process.
Unite and the USW created Workers Uniting out of the fundamental belief that only by fighting together across borders can we win the future our members and their families deserve. Workers Uniting will continue to fight to give all workers a collective voice in their workplaces that includes the right to form and join unions, and ensure that the political process is based on accountability and democratic values. Workers Uniting pledges to strengthen our cooperation in this changing global context and will continue to fight for worker and human rights everywhere in the world.
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.