As new secret documents are leaked, see https://wikileaks.org/tisa/ the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the European Transport Workers’ Federation have joined other global union organisations in blasting the EU for pushing other governments to privatise and deregulate as part of negotiations for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA).
Unions and civil society have been campaigning on TTIP, CETA and TPP. TISA affects many more countries; 23 goverments are involved as well as the EU and it covers a very broad range of services (including energy, health, education, financial services, e-commerce, postal and transport). Today’s leak impacts on: Chile, Taiwan, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mauritius, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States.
The leak contains market access requests from the EU negotiators to other countries to liberalise - “improve their offer” if they want to go forward with TISA. The negotiations timetable is tight, with observers commenting that there appears to be a serious effort by negotiators to conclude the negotiations by the end of this year.
The ITF has already voiced serious concerns about TISA opening up marime cabotage. In addition to the liberalisation of shipping, this leak exposes just how much pressure the EU negotiators are exerting on port and airport services. Each of the governments involved is being asked by the EU to open up more than they’d already offered. Cargo handling, storage and warehousing, maintenance and repair of aircraft and aircraft operation would all be up for grabs by global corporates.
- For example, Hong Kong is asked to open up maritime auxiliary services - cargo handling, storage and warehousing, freight agency and freight forwarding, pre-shipment inspection, customs clearance, container stations etc. Their opening up to suppliers from all other TISA countries could have negative implications for the country’s port workers’ conditions, as well as for safety and security oversight.
- In another example, Mauritius is asked fully to open maintenance and repair of aircraft and ground-handling and airport operations to companies from other TISA countries. This would, presumably prevent Mauritius from developing any infant industries in the subsector, because any Mauritian company would immediately face competition from big companies from other TISA countries.
- Costa Rica provides an additional example. Here the EU has asked the goverment to remove its national treatment and market access reservations on local level measures, appearing to mean that privatised local government services, including public transport services, could not be taken back under local control.
The ITF has already highlighted its concerns that the proposed TISA undermines existing regulation in the global transport industry.
“These EU demands only multiply the concerns the ITF has already voiced on the undermining of global standards and of decreased safety oversight, as well as over the loss of national control,” said ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton.
“TISA is being negotiated behind closed doors, whilst we, the real stakeholders, are working with only pieces of the jigsaw. This is shameful. The ITF stands with other global unions in demanding that the talks stop now. They cannot continue until the negotiating parties make public their own positions as well their demands on other countries – and then hold proper consultations with workers, citizens and their representatives,” stated ITF President Paddy Crumlin
“It is outrageous that the European Union is not only failing in its duty of democracy and social partnership - it also appears to be exporting an extreme model to other countries. It is pursuing a level of market access that will benefit multinationals, not people,” added European Transport Workers’ Federation General Secretary Eduardo Chagas.