South Korean and New Zealand union centres oppose Korea-New Zealand free trade agreement and call for new model
|“ trade rules should not undermine public health and safety, workers' rights, the environment, essential public services and fair economic development in order to protect the rights of corporations”|
The Korean Council of Trade Unions, representing 800,000 members and 25 million workers in South Korea, and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions representing 350,000 workers in New Zealand are calling on their governments to thoroughly review their approaches to the proposed trade and investment agreement and to create a new model of trade agreements between their countries.
In a joint declaration released today, Presidents Kim Young-Hoon and Helen Kelly say that the governments “should work to create a labour-friendly model of trade and economic cooperation through adequate consultations with labour unions and civil society groups”.
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The declaration states: “If our concerns are not addressed we will strongly oppose the continued negotiation of the Korea – New Zealand FTA and will work together to ensure that this agreement is not implemented.”
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The declaration outlines the concerns of the two movements with the model of trade agreement that is being proposed. It says that “trade rules should not undermine public health and safety, workers' rights, the environment, essential public services and fair economic development in order to protect the rights of corporations. And such an agreement should support the creation and preservation of full employment and good jobs in both countries, and protect and enhance labour rights. Both governments should undertake changes needed to ensure that all workers in both countries are afforded their fundamental labour rights including rights to organise and to bargain collectively, and that those rights are progressively enhanced.”
The Presidents say “The agreement must include a strong and enforceable labour chapter. Both this and a strong and enforceable environment chapter should have primacy over economic and commercial provisions of the agreement.”
“Negotiations towards a fairer and more just trade and economic cooperation process must be carried out with much greater openness, including regular releases of draft text, continuing consultation with unions and other affected groups including provision for their attendance at negotiating rounds, and processes in each country which allow citizens and their elected representatives an effective voice in the decision on final acceptance.” said the Presidents.
The joint declaration can be found here