Representatives of IUF dairy unions, meeting in San Francisco on August 26, highlighted the damaging potential of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement to reduce wages and working conditions and destroy the livelihoods of workers and small producers in the dairy sector. IUF Dairy Division affiliates include unions from 9 of the 12 countries represented in the secretive negotiations.
A statement adopted by the meeting warned that “Negotiations for the TPP are publicly focused on access to markets but the much more critical issue of unrestricted access for investors to acquire land and processing facilities to control milk supply is buried in the secrecy of the talks”, and expressed deep concern that even if the negotiations concluded with some market access restrictions still in place, “legitimate restrictions on investment and the resulting corporate control of the milk supply, will be removed or significantly reduced.”
“The dairy workforce and their unions in the TPP countries”, says the statement, “have an interest in protecting their communities and keeping dairy prices and wages stable. Unions strive throughout the dairy supply chain to ensure workers make living wages and enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining.”
The Dairy Division affirmed the IUF commitment to opposing all “trade” deals which threaten democracy by strengthening corporate interests at the expense of the rights of workers and citizens, food security and sovereignty and protection of the environment, and pledged full IUF support for affiliates fighting to defend these rights.