ACTU leader says trade deals must not undermine workers’ rights

March 22, 2018: In her speech to the National Press Club yesterday, ACTU secretary Sally McManus argued that unfair trade agreements like the CPTPP were contributing to casualisation and underpayment of wages, and that major changes were needed to the industrial relations system.

She said "these trade agreements are not free, they are a complex set of rules negotiated by governments, pushed by big corporations."

She noted that trade agreements are being used to increase the numbers of vulnerable temporary workers who are tied to one employer, without testing if local workers are available. She argued for a return to "permanent migration with temporary visas used only for genuine shortages and with strong protections against abuse."

She added that “governments must not sign agreements that allow companies to sue us or force the privatisation of our services. This is the selling of our jobs and our sovereignty to suit the greed of a few. This must stop."