ITF Warns Against Trade In Services Agreement (TISA)

ITF Warns Against Trade In Services Agreement (TISA)

Classified documents published  by Wikileaks on the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) foresee consolidated power for big transport industry players – and threaten the public interest, jobs and a voice for workers, says the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “This text would supercharge the most powerful companies in the transport industry, giving them preferential treatment. What’s missing from this equation is any value at all for workers and citizens. It creates serious barriers for any state wanting to invest in, manage and operate its national infrastructure or – crucially – to defend decent work and decent terms and conditions across transport.”

The ITF is concerned that in the three areas covered – maritime transport, air transport and express delivery – deregulation aims to:

  • Enhance the bargaining power of major shipping lines over port services, and give global port operators further consolidated power
  • Open up offshore energy services raising potential sustainability and environmental concerns
  • Allow multimodal transport operators unfettered access to and rights to supply road, rail or inland waterways transport services, generally public infrastructure – and enable them to fast-track their goods through ports
  • Undermine the social and safety standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), by failing to recognise these as minimum standards subject to continuous improvement
  • Create an aviation industry dominated by global giants whilst allowing flags of convenience to become an established practice in the global aviation market
  • Shift the aviation system onto a fully liberalised multilateral system in one go, in a way that’s unmanageable for many countries and aviation workforces
  • See the worst employment conditions at airports and in ground handling mirrored by similar trends in aircraft repair and maintenance
  • Remove the economic regulation of international air transport from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), leaving aviation policy to be determined by international market forces and by decisions made in boardrooms serving shareholder interests
  • Increase potential safety risks, by separating the safety regulation and economic regulation of international air transport and undermining their close interaction under the same regime
  • Protect the position of the major, private global courier companies against the growth of those national or regional operators that are secured through historical or current monopolies in national postal services
  • Break open the relationships between the State, post, and the unions especially in the developing world, because the mature world markets do not offer significant longer-term growth opportunities
  • Break the unions that exercise power in the sector and maintain the social and economic floor.

Crumlin continued: “Such ideologically-driven deregulation is not about increasing efficiency. The charade of moving to more open competition offers various ways to give the global majors more clout over newer global entrants. But global economic regulators cannot afford to treat citizens – transport workers, public sector workers – or any of the end-consumers of services simply as another component in the value chain. TISA must incorporate an enforceable and binding labour and sustainability chapter. It must not be used as an instrument to further deregulate transport sectors in a race to the bottom on terms and conditions of employment.”

“The ITF is working with its sister organisations in the global union movement and will be working with civil society and other allies to oppose the harmful effects of the TISA,” he concluded.

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