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30 Jun 2021

Richard Partington, The Guardian

UK making trade deals with countries abusing workers’ rights, says TUC

'UK making trade deals with countries abusing workers’ rights, says TUC', 30 June 2021

"Boris Johnson’s government has been accused of rushing into post-Brexit trade deals with countries where workers’ rights are systematically violated or denied, including five out of the 10 worst offenders worldwide.

Trade union leaders and Labour said the UK government was turning its back on workers around the world and neglecting its commitment to fundamental human and labour rights in the scramble to demonstrate the benefits of Brexit by striking free trade deals outside the EU.

According to research from the TUC, the union umbrella group, and its international partner, the ITUC, more than a third of the non-EU nations with which the UK has secured trade deals are abusing workers’ rights.

Five out of the 10 “worst countries in the world for workers”, according to the ITUC’s annual global rights index have agreed post-Brexit deals over the past two years. As many as 14 of the 24 countries where UK officials are currently negotiating trade deals also have poor track records, including Brazil, Malaysia and India.

It emerged earlier this year that the UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, had told staff that Britain intended to trade with countries with poor human rights records.

The TUC said the government needed to suspend some trade deals and use its leverage to ensure countries respect labour and human rights..."