Trade Unions’ positions on TTIP & Co.

Trade unions all over Europe are discussing the impact of TTIP and CETA. To bring some light into the jungle, we have created an overview table of trade unions’ positions on this page (in order of name of country). The list is by no means comprehensive. If you spot any mistakes or would like to suggest additions, please email Click the links to see the original position papers. Underneath the table, we have highlighted demands and main points of concern of some of the trade unions listed.

Summary table

Union Country Position on TTIP Position on CETA Position on ISDS
Österreichische Gewerkschaft der Gemeindebediensteten – Kunst, Medien, Sport, freie Berufe (GdG-KMSfB) Austria Stop Opposition
Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund (ÖGB) Austria Stop
ABVV/FGTB Belgium Stop
Danish union of public employees (FOA) Denmark Concern
Confédération générale du travail (CGT) France Stop
Fédération syndicale unitaire (FSU) France Stop
Union syndicale solidaires France Stop
Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB) Germany Stop Stop Opposition
Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW)–> DGB statement Germany Stop Stop
IG Metall Germany Stop
Ver.di Germany Stop
Irish Federation of University teacher (IFUT), ASTI, Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), TUI Ireland Concern Opposition
Irish Congress of trade unions (ICTU) Ireland Concern
Italian general confederation of labour (CGIL) Italy Concern
Italian labour union (UIL)–>>ETUC statement Italy Concern
Confederazione dei Comitati di Base (COBAS) Italy Stop
Lëtzebuerger Chrëschtleche Gewerkschafts-Bond (LCGB) Luxembourg Stop
Syprolux Luxembourg Stop
FVN–> ETUC statement Netherlands Concern
Unabhängiger Gewerkschaftsbund Luxemburg (OGBL) Luxembourg Stop
Confederación sindical de comisiones obreras (CCOO) Spain Stop
Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) Spain Stop
Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT) Spain Stop
Unión Sindical Obrera (USO) Spain Stop
General Workers’ Union (GMB) UK Stop Opposition
National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) UK Concern Opposition
National Union of Teachers (NUT) UK Stop
Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) UK Stop
UNISON UK Stop Opposition
Trade Union Council (TUC) UK Stop
Unite the Union UK Stop Stop Opposition
University and College Union (UCU) UK Stop Opposition
European Federation of public service Unions Europe Concern
European Trade Union Conference (ETUC) Europe Concern Opposition
European Trade Union Comittee for Education (ETUCE) Europe Concern
IndustriALL European Trade Union Europe Concern
International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) Europe Stop
Public services international (PSI) Europe Stop
UNI Europa Europe Stop


More detailed trade union positions

Österreichische Gewerkschaft der Gemeindebediensteten – Kunst, Medien, Sport, freie Berufe (GdG-KMSfB)


  • start over the negotiations
  • no ISDS
  • exclusion of public services, public procurement, audio-visual services
  • binding recognition of the ILO standards by USA
  • no automatic mutual recognition of standards, no RCC (regulatory cooperation coucil)
  • compilation of a study on the impact of TTIP on the European internal market and employment market

Main points of concern:

  • lack of transparency
  • the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers can not make changes, only agree/disagree)
  • possible reduction of consumer, environmental and employee protection
  • ISDS (limitation of the state’s possibility to regulate)
  • further liberalisation of public infrastructure (e.g. water, energy), social security, municipal services, culture; constraint for the municipalities’ right to provide services
  • impeachement of the credibility of the EU prognoses on the effects of TTIP on the economic growth

Full position:


Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB)

– the DGB has published a general resolution on the requirements of free-trade agreements
– in general, free-trade agreements are seen as a possibility to introduce “gold standards” for a fairer globalization

Positon on TTIP (June 2014)


  • no ISDS
  • suspension of current negotiation process, definition of new objectives
  • complete transparency (e.g. disclosure of negotiation documents and objectives)
  • comprehensive study on the possible impacts (social, ecological, human rights) in cooperation with civil society representatives
  • no reduction of the level of environmetal, consumer or worker protection
  • binding recognition of the ILO standards and OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises

Main points of concern:

  • lack of transparency
  • the USA did not ratify six of the eight Core Labour Standarts of the ILO
  • mutual recognition of standards is likely to produce a general lowering of (e.g. protection) standards
  • liberalisation of public services, removal of special protection
  • lobbyist inluence on legislation processes through the RCC (regulatory cooperation coucil) and ISDS

Position on CETA (december 2014)
– does not the the requirements of the DGB → non-consensual

Main points of concern:

  • no sufficient protection of workers’ and employees’ rights (formulations in a non-binding manner, no explicit human rights clause)
  • investment proctection (ISDS)
  • negative-list approach concerning the liberalisation of services
  • ratchet-clause: level of liberalisation is non-reversable (p.e. re-municilatization of private public services not possible)
  • list of exempt sectors of the public services not sufficient (e.g. does not include social affairs, health, education, web.based services, public municipal transportation, computer-related services
  • no rules on the promotion of socio-ecological criteria in public procurement and protection of social and labour standarts
  • “regulatory council” which asseses the compatibility of regulations in advance → can influence legislative and governmental processes by assas
  • CETA does not contain a review clause


Irish Federation of University teacher (IFUT), ASTI, Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), TUI

– demand the exclusion of education from the TTIP negotiations
– against ISDS (limitation of the sovereignty of states, possible liability on tax payers in the case of a lawsuit)


Unabhängiger Gewerkschaftsbund Luxemburg (OGBL) (17.03.2014)

– resolution of the „OGBL-syndicate for food, consumption and restaurants”
– demand: stop the negotiations on TTIP

Main points of concern:

  • lack of democracy in the negotiations (the European Parliament and the national parliaments are not included,     major influence of lobbyists
  • big differences in food- and health-security
  • consumer protection: according to European, the consumer protection laws of the place of residence are in effect -> not concorddant with TTIP


General Workers’ Union (GMB) (11.3.2014)
– demand: abandon negotiations

Main points of concern:

  • lowering of social and environmental standards
  • limitations in public procurement
  • increasement of corporations’ powerover governments through ISDS


National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) (September 2014)


  • no ISDS
  • exclusion of public services, including education and health
  • proper involvement of trade unions and civil society in the negotiations
  • main points of concern:
  • limitation of governments’ sovereignty trhough ISDS
  • privatisation of public services (including education); harder reversibility of these privatisations


UNISON (UK) (May 2014)
– states opposition against TTIP


  • no ISDS
  • binding reconition of the ILO standards
  • exclusion of all public services
  • guarantee for no lowering of standards

Main points of concern:

  • liberalisation of public services, difficulties to reverse privatisation (e.g. NHS)
  • limitation of governments through ISDS
  • lowering of standarts through regulatory cooperation
  • limiation of public procurement
  • the US has not ratified several ILO conventions -> weakening of emplyment and trade unions’ rights
  • impact on future global trade agreements -> TTIP as standard


Unite the Union (UK) (February 2015)
– statement of the “Workers’ Uniting Steering Comittee”


  • rejection of CETA
  • removal of ISDS from TTIP
  • implementation of ILO core standards
  • assuring the implementation of high standards

Main points of concern:

  • lowering of standards because of regulatory convergence


University and College Union (UCU) (UK) (March 2014)
– demand:exclusion of public services from TTIP, clear definition of “public services”

Main points of concern:

  • privatisation of public services (e.g. education)
  • lack of transparency during the negotiations
  • “depolitization” of conflicts between states and investors through ISDS; deterrence of governments who want to introduce laws for e.g. environmental or customer protection
  • de-regulation and privatisation of the education-sector
  • complication of a reversion of privatisations


European Trade Union Conference (25.04.2013)
– neither clear support or opposition, sees possible positive (positive impacts on jobs and investement flows) and negative effects
– concerned about the little amount of time EU Member States have been given to agree this mandate and the lack of scrutiny of the EU’s draft negotiating mandate by MEPs, trade unions or civil society


  • greater scrutiny (submission of the EU negotiation mandate draft to the European Parliament, the trade union movement and civil society; hearing by the Council Trade Policy Committee with trade union and civil society representatives)
  • achievement of a “Gold-Standart” (e.g. EU REACH-agreement on chemicals, European work councils, US Federal instruments of industrial policy and innovation such as DARPA and ARPA-Eprogramme
  • greater cooperation in the development of new technologies
  • implementation of the labour standarts of the ILO
  • protection of the environment -> concerns especially about the US exploitation of unconventional fuels (e.g. tar sands and shale gas)
  • inclusion of parliaments and social partners in the negotiations and the monitoring process after the agreement is in place(e.g. bilateral parliamentary commission+social partners)
  • Oppositions against the inclusion of ISDS
  • postive-list-approach for service-negotiations
  • exclusion of public services, audio-visual and cultural goods and agriculture, no liberalization of financial services
  • no obligation to open or liberalize public procurement at the subnational level
  • measures against the illegal trade of intellectual property-reliant goods and services and broders (except non-profit)