TUC and RENGO Joint Statement on Brexit and Trade

10 June 2020

As UK-Japan trade talks commenced on 9 June, TUC (Trades Union congress) and RENGO issued a Joint Statement calling for trade deals that protects jobs and rights to the UK and Japan governments.

Joint Statement of the British Trades Union Congress and JTUC-RENGO on Brexit and Trade

Together RENGO and the TUC bring together over 11 million workers from the UK and Japan. The UK’s future trade negotiations will have a great impact on both Japanese and British workers. We urge both British and Japanese governments to engage with trade unions to ensure future trade negotiations safeguard jobs, protect rights and public services.

UK-EU negotiations
To ensure Japanese companies continue to invest and support good jobs in the UK, it is crucial that the UK and EU negotiate a deal that allows companies to continue to trade in goods and services without barriers or tariffs.
A major reason why Japanese companies have come to the UK is that it provided a gateway to trade without barriers or tariffs with the rest of the EU due to the UK’s membership of the single market. Japanese firms with big plants in the UK sell most of their British-made goods in the EU. Investment by Japanese companies supports thousands of good, unionised jobs in the UK, particularly in manufacturing, research and service jobs. For example, in the North East, Japanese companies provide quality employment.
It is also crucial that the UK and EU negotiate a deal that guarantees that workers in the UK will continue to be protected by the same levels of employment rights as those found in the EU.
To guarantee these objectives, the UK must negotiate a deal with the EU that achieves the closest possible relationship to the single market and a customs union.

UK-Japan negotiations
Unions in the UK and Japan call on our governments to ensure any trade deal involving Japan and the UK:

  •  Contains enforceable commitments to respect International Labour Organisation core conventions on labour rights and Sustainable Development Goals with material consequences if these commitments are abused. Before any agreement is concluded, Japan must ratify and implement ILO Convention 105 on forced labour and Convention 111 on discrimination and implement ILO Convention 87 on freedom of association and Convention 98 on collective bargaining in relation to the civil service.
  •  Protects the right of governments to use public procurement, to support economic development, improve working conditions and pursue social and environmental objectives.
  •  Protects the ability of both governments to regulate our tax systems and financial services.
  •  Excludes all public services including health, transport and education through the use of a ‘positive list’ approach.
  •  Exclude any kind of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) style court systems which have the possibility to violate the rights of making laws on workers’ rights, public services, welfare, and environment.

To ensure any deal involving the UK and Japan achieves these objectives, we call on our governments to ensure transparency and engagement of trade unions in negotiations and in the monitoring of any agreement, once ratified.

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