Today at the European Parliament, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) Europe, Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft e.V. (AbL), Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) and PowerShift released a new report documenting how the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) empowers the global meat industry and undermines family farming.
The new report, Selling Off the Farm: Corporate Meat’s Takeover Through TTIP, exposes how giant meat industry corporations are aggressively using TTIP to lower regulations that protect public health, environmental and animal welfare, and labour standards.
Featuring in the presentation of the report , Estelle Brentnall, Food, Drink and Tobacco Political Secretary at EFFAT, welcomed the report and focused in particular on how TTIP would erode basic EU labour standards, fueling a downward spiral in wages and working conditions in Europe.
Be it from a production scale point of view or from applicable labour standards, the European and US meat production do not compete on a level playing field. Whereas in the US some of the most vulnerable workers in the meat industry often lack full legal protection and are denied the same wage, working hours and labour standards of other sectors’ employees, the EU, while not perfect, has set up fundamental labour instruments.
At the heart of TTIP is the drive to further expand the already considerable power of transnational investors by restricting the regulatory power of governments and locking the system into place to prevent new regulatory initiatives. TTIP would exacerbate poor working conditions in Europe and diminish the possibilities for trade unions to push for needed reforms on both sides of the Atlantic.
EFFAT has long advocated that in any trade deal, standards on food safety, plant and animal health and welfare are non-negotiable. The highest levels of protections, particularly in so far as occupational health and safety and labour rights are concerned need to prevail at all time, not the lowest common denominator.
If trade of food is to contribute to social and environmental development as part of the right to a decent standard of living, and to create confidence in the safety and quality of the food supply, it is necessary to pursue an upward alignment of workers’ rights and environmental protection standards.
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Food, Drink and Tobacco Political Secretary