STATEMENT OF INTENT
“We firmly believe that the trade union movement has an important role to play in challenging the current international trade regime and ensuring that people’s rights and democracy are protected”
Kuala Lumpur, 11 August 2018:
Representatives of trade unions from the Asia Pacific region, including Australia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea representing sectors such as construction, manufacturing, agricultural workers, public services, professional services and education, met in Singapore from 3-4 May 2018. We discussed the impacts of the free trade agenda on workers’ and people’s rights as well as the challenges posed by mega-regional Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) under discussion in the region, such as the Transpacific Partnership (TPP)-11 and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
We are deeply concerned about the negative impacts that the Free Trade Agenda has had on labour rights, sustainable development and democracy. We recognise that just trade, democratic multilateralism and cooperation can advance opportunities for employment and sustainable development, however trade agreements designed for and by multi-national corporations threaten to deepen inequalities and increase the economic and political power of capital at the expense of workers and their families.
We firmly believe that the trade union movement has an important role to play in challenging the current international trade regime and ensuring that people’s rights and democracy are protected. We have decided to strengthen our ability to intervene in this process by creating a network of trade unions in the Asia Pacific region working towards trade justice, the Unions for Trade Justice network.
The network will be coordinated by the Global Union Federations and will facilitate the participation of their affiliates and unions interested in challenging the free trade agenda and furthering the agenda of trade justice in relevant national activities.
UNION FOR TRADE JUSTICE HEREBY PROPOSES TO:
- Facilitate communication and discussion between trade unions in the region to share information and analysis and discuss issues pertaining to free trade and trade justice;
- Create a repository of resources on trade for trade union activists in Asia Pacific;
- Coordinate Days of Action for Trade Justice in Asia Pacific;
- Coordinate activities that strengthen the capacity of trade unions in the region to challenge the free trade agenda and promote trade justice in Asia Pacific and globally;
- Create campaign materials and documents as required to fulfil the objectives of the network;
- Contribute to developing a regional strategy for trade justice for unions and civil society allies
The initial organisations involved include
- Public Services International, Asia-Pacific
- Building and Woodworkers International, Asia-Pacific
- Education International, Asia-Pacific
- UNI Global Union
- IndustriALL Global Union
- International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) Asia/Pacific
- International Transport workers Federation