The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a multi-billion dollar privatisation treaty between the US and EU that aims to guarantee access to public services for giant corporations to make vast profits.
The national president of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), Ian Hodson, argues that the EU’s secretive involvement in the negotiations surrounding this treaty illustrate “just how much the EU has mutated into one huge business cartel”. That is but one of many reasons why the Bakers Union are presently campaigning to leave the EU.
Fundamentally, Hodson writes: TTIP “is about reducing certain regulatory barriers for large organisations” – regulatory barriers that exist to protect the rights of normal working class people. He continues:
“One of the main aims of TTIP is to open up Europe’s Public Health, Education and Water services to US companies. This would essentially mean the privatisation of our NHS. US companies would also have the power to sue countries who don’t toe the line, thus strengthening American’s imperialistic grip on other nations.” (Bakers Union magazine, Spring 2016)
Unsurprisingly the Tory bosses at Samworth Brothers have a different take on TTIP, and are wetting themselves about its potential to extend their ability to enrich themselves at the expense of their workers and, it seems, everybody else.
In fact, just last June Samworth managers invited corporate lobbyists, BritishAmerican Business, to their Walkers Charnwood Bakery site to co-host a love-in for TTIP. Tory MEP Emma McClarkin, who is the co-ordinator on the EU’s International Trade Committee, was just one of the many guests at this prestigious TTIP event. Fittingly, she evens boasts on her web site that she “is the leading Conservative figure in Europe on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”. (With no hint of irony, McClarkin is presently campaigning to leave the EU because it’s lack of democracy.)
McClarkin’s high-level of personal commitment to TTIP, however, leads McClarkin to argue that her favoured treaty represents “an opportunity for the NHS, not a threat” – and she even goes so far as accusing one of Britain’s leading trade unions (Unite) of scaremongering about the threats posed by her beloved treaty.
Such dismissive attitudes regarding unions are all too normal in the world of big business, and are unfortunately very reminiscent of the scaremongering tactics currently being employed by Samworth’s own management about the alleged threat posed by trade unions to their ability to freely exploit their workforce. Scaremongering that has led to the systematic bullying of staff and the recent unfounded sacking of a leading member of the Bakers Union, Kumaran Bose.
Profits always trump workers’ rights in the business world, which is why Samworth bosses are so excited about TTIP and so hostile to unions. Nevertheless, trade unions, like the Bakers Union, do provide a ray of hope for the future of thousands of workers who seek to organise themselves collectively to improve their lot in life, vis-à-vis their bargaining power with their bosses.
This is why it is so important for all workers to join a trade union, and for demands to be made upon the Samworth fat-cats to immediately reinstate Kumaran Bose.
Email complaints to: Paul.Davey@Bradgate-Bakery.co.uk
If you are interested in showing solidarity with Samworth workers, then come along to the forthcoming public meeting being organised by the Bakers Union that will be held on Saturday at 6.30pm in the Leicester Secular Hall (on Humberstone Gate) – a meeting which is being co-hosted by the National Shop Stewards Network and other local trade unionists.