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TiSA To Undermine Labour Standards

Thursday, June 11, 2015

GMB Congress In Dublin Told That Leaks About New Trade In Services Agreement (TiSA) Reveal Plans For Free Movement Of Labour With No Social Standards Across 52 Nations

If implemented, TISA would allow multinational corporations to exploit migrant workers with impunity and governments would be powerless to do anything about it GMB Congress told.

GMB Congress in Dublin was told today (8 June) that proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) leaked by Wikileaks on 3rd June would extend the rights of employers in 37 sectors  to move labour across 52 countries including the EU and the US with no social standards whatsoever.

The leaked document shows secret plans to extend the scope and coverage of the existing General Agreement of Trade and Services (GATS) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) across 37 service sectors including construction which is defined as a production industry in the UK.

 TISA commits participating countries to enact non-reversible privatisations and deregulate a wide range of services for the benefit of transnational corporations. There are paragraphs on the removal of restrictions concerning the movement of ‘natural persons’, a reference to migrant workers who would have no legal protections for their labour rights.

The countries involved in the negotiations are the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey and Uruguay.

The 37 industries covered by the talks are as follows:

Professional services:

1.      Accounting, auditing and bookkeeping services

2.      Architectural services

3.      Engineering services

4.      Integrated engineering services

5.      Urban planning and landscape architectural services

6.      Medical & dental services

7.      Veterinary services

8.      Services provided by midwives, nurses, physiotherapists and paramedical personnel

Computer and related services:

9.      Consultancy services related to the installation of computer hardware

10.  Software implementation services

11.  Data processing services

12.  Data base services )

13. Other

Research and Development services:

14.  R&D services on natural sciences

15.  R&D services on social sciences and humanities

16.  Interdisciplinary R&D services

Other business services

17.  Advertising services

18.  Market research and public opinion polling services

19.  Management consulting services

20.  Services related to management consulting

21.  Technical testing & analysis services

22.  [CH propose: Services incidental to manufacturing]

23.  Related scientific and technical consulting services

24.  Maintenance and repair of equipment (not including maritime vessels, aircraft or other transport equipment)

25.  Specialty design services

Construction and related engineering services:

26.  General construction work for buildings

27.  General construction work for civil engineering

28.  Installation and assembly work

29.  Building completion and finishing work

30.  Other

Environmental services:

31.  Sewage services

32.  Refuse disposal services

33.  Sanitation and similar services

34.  Other

Tourism and travel related services:

35.  Hotels and Restaurants

36.  Travel Agencies and Tour Operators services

37.  Tourist Guides services

Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International Officer speaking at Congress, said “There have been 11 rounds of secret talks involving civil servants from 52 nations to undermine social standards that have been built up over generations. There have been no reports to elected politicians about these talks. Politicians needs to decommission these talks.

The movement of workers should be outside the competence of trade agreements and should be dealt with by nation states in line with ILO conventions.

If implemented, TISA would allow multinational corporations to exploit migrant workers with impunity and governments would be powerless to do anything about it.

The Agreement is the latest in a series of trade deals designed to lock countries in to a neoliberal agenda that gives the corporations unprecedented power and influence to shape the world’s economy for the benefit of their shareholders.”

Contact: Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International Officer on 07974 251764 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 2521823.

Notes to editors:

The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) Annex on Movement of Natural Persons was released on the Wikileaks website on 3 June 2015 and available here:

It was 1 of 17 secret documents released from the ongoing TISA which dates from the 11th round of TiSA negotiations held 9-13 February 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland.


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