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From: The Socialist issue 892, 9 March 2016: Housing crisis: can't pay, will stay!

Search site for keywords: EU - Union - Ttip - NHS - European Union - European - Privatisation - Privatised - Lisbon Treaty - Public ownership - Anti-austerity - Austerity - Big business

Union confirms TTIP will boost European Union NHS sell-offs

Robert Charlesworth

It's official: TTIP is bad for your health.

Recent legal advice commissioned by general union Unite confirms corporate interests could use the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to attack any government taking privatised parts of the NHS back into public ownership.

The trade agreement was cooked up largely in secret between the unelected European Commission and big business in the European Union (EU) and United States.

TTIP procurement rules could force the NHS to contract out services it wants to keep in-house. The threat of legal action for huge damages in secret courts would create "regulatory chill" - inhibiting the state from fighting privatisation.

Some campaigners want specific clauses inserted to protect the NHS.

Protecting our health service from rapacious private firms and corporate lawyers is right. But the deal would also prevent the government from renationalising the railways, something which around two thirds of the public supports. It would also undermine environmental protection measures aimed at pesticide manufacturers and industrial polluters.

TTIP is a corporate wish list that goes far beyond even the significant privatising powers in EU competition law. The Socialist Party says the whole agreement should be scrapped. Workers should vote to leave the free-market treaty organisation it is based on, the EU.

The Tories have been staunch supporters of TTIP, with David Cameron saying he wants to "put rocket boosters on it." It is yet another nail in the coffin of the 'social Europe' illusion.

This is the Europe of the Lisbon Treaty. Decades of anti-worker legislation have undermined trade union agreements, reducing wage levels and working conditions. The EU's undemocratic structures do not allow reform from within.

Voting 'out' would knock back TTIP and weaken the capitalists and their politicians. This would give trade unions and anti-austerity campaigns an opening to press the advantage and struggle for big gains.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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