Unions holding Brexit Britain to ransom! Trade deal faces COLLAPSE as worker row erupts

Penny Mordaunt discusses post-Brexit UK-US trade deal

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This comes as the second round of talks between the UK and the US begins this week. Union leaders from both countries have said that Washington should be pushing for a “worker-centred approach to trade” to help unlock the deal. Two major unions in both the UK and US, the TUC and the AFL-CIO, have called for an urgent change of tack, accusing the UK Government of failing to prioritise labour rights.

The two groups represent more than 17 million workers between them.

In a joint statement, they called on the two countries to work together to protect employment standards.

The TUC’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady accused Mr Johnson’s government of rushing into post-Brexit negotiations with nations that “readily abuse fundamental human and labour rights”.

She added: “Trade deals can lift labour standards, promote decent work and reduce inequality around the world.

“But the UK government has agreed too many deals that leave working people worse off.

“Enough is enough.

“It’s time for a truly worker-centred trade approach.

“That means meaningfully consulting with trade unions and acting on our concerns.

“Only then is the US government likely to consider closer trade ties with the UK.”

A trade policy specialist at the AFL-CIO, Eric Gottwald, called for the two governments to “lift wages and standards”.

He said: “For too long, the voices of working people have been shut out of trade negotiations or discussions.

“We need the TUC and its unions at the table to shape a fair agreement that lifts wages and standards on both sides of the Atlantic.”

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The TUC, along with the UK’s biggest private union Unite, are both pushing for an invitation to represent their members on Trade Advisory Groups (TAGs).

The groups, set up by the Department for International Trade, provide technical input on the UK’s trade deals.

Talks between the UK and the US are continuing this week in Aberdeen and London.

UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “This dialogue gives us a platform to explore more modern, digital ways of trading.

“It will identify and resolve barriers to trade to make it cheaper and easier for businesses in Scotland and throughout the UK to do business with our US friends.”

The negotiations are taking place on a state-by-state basis.

The UK is expected to sign its first economic pacts with US states next month, and secure an arrangement with Texas by October, according to trade minister Penny Mordaunt.

Speaking to the House of Commons on Thursday, Ms Morduant said: “The first eight we have in the pipeline will be equivalent to 20 percent of the United States economy.”

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