ACTU says a revived TPP is bad news for workers

December 21, 2017: The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has warned that the attempt to revive Trans-Pacific Partnership without the US would still lead to increased numbers of vulnerable temporary migrant workers from at least six countries outside of Australia.

The TPP, now rebranded the Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP), still has provisions to remove labour market testing for temporary migrant workers from Canada, Mexico, Chile, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam in 435 occupations. The Australian government claims these market access conditions are on a ‘reciprocal’ basis, but none of the six countries have made commitments for so many occupations as has Australia.

ACTU President Ged Kearney told Guardian Australia, “There has been no analysis of how this will affect local employment, nor have there been any safeguards proposed to protect these vulnerable workers.”

The CTPP does not include effectively enforceable labour standards. Governments who sign on to the agreement will only commit to implementing their own labour laws, not to recognised international standards, and they are not enforceable in the same way as other chapters in the agreement.

Ged Kearney also condemned the fact that the CPTTP still includes investor-state Dispute Settlement (ISDS).  This  gives foreign corporations the right  to bypass national courts and sue governments for millions of dollars over domestic laws, which could include labour, health and environmental laws.