Published: 11/10/2013

As broad opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement grows (read more about the TPPA here) IUF affiliates representing dairy workers in Australia, New Zealand and North America have jointly voiced serious concerns about dangers posed by the pending trade deal. They have raised similar issues to those raised by IUF affiliates earlier at a recent trans-Tasman IUF Food Union meeting (to read the trans Tasman food unions’ position click here).

In a joint letter to their respective trade negotiators IUF affiliates the National Union of Workers in Australia, The New Zealand Dairy Workers Union and the Teamsters Union in the USA and Canada have demanded that workers’ interests in the dairy and food processing industries are given a high priority in the TPPA currently being negotiated in secret. You can read the full text of the joint letter here.

In their joint letter these IUF-affiliated dairy worker organizations have sent a very clear message to trade negotiators, “If a final draft of the TPP erodes the rights or threatens the livelihoods of workers in any participating countries, we will oppose it at every political level and demand that you reopen negotiations, just as we would in collective bargaining with any employer who proposed a bad contract.

Any deal that puts the interests and the well-being of workers, their families and communities at risk will be fought by these dairy unions and by IUF members more widely. The joint letter concludes, “Finally,we especially urge you to protect our workers in the dairy and food processing industries. These industries are growing in each of our countries and our unions are growing with them, guaranteeing that workers throughout the supply chains make living wages and enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining. The TPP won’t change that; and if it is necessary to keep increased dairy market access, for example, “off the table” in the final rounds of your secret negotiations, we expect that you will consult with us and do what’s right by our members.

The NUW, NZDWU and Teamsters have joined forces with other IUF dairy affiliates across the world as part of the IUF’s “Fair Deal For Dairy Workers” international alliance. For more read here.