Unions are stepping up calls on the Government to stop a major trade deal going ahead which they warn threatens to make privatisation of NHS services “irreversible”.
Unite claimed that the deal between the European Union and the United States, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), is the result of “secret” negotiations between US officials and the European Commission.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “David Cameron has shown that he’s willing to go to Europe to defend bankers’ bonuses, now he must use his powers to defend our cherished NHS.
“US health companies will even have the right to sue a future UK government in secret courts if politicians try to reverse privatisation.
“The most significant effect will be felt in health, enabling US healthcare multinationals and Wall Street investors to sue the UK government in secret courts if it attempts to reverse privatisation.
“David Cameron can exempt the NHS from these trade negotiations. Unless the Prime Minister acts, bureaucrats in Brussels and Washington will make the sell-off of our NHS irreversible.”
Unite published research at its national conference in Liverpool claiming that if successful, TTIP places the NHS at “unique risk” because of the “Tory drive towards privatisation”.
Unite said the trade agreement was aimed at increasing the power of multinational investors such as big businesses and hedge funds, while reducing regulation of these organisations.
Unite claimed a TTIP could “scupper” plans to reverse privatisation of health services in this country.
The union said the bilateral trade agreement would create a single market between the European Union and the United States, removing barriers between public assets and multinational corporations.
TTIP could make it impossible for any European government to reverse the privatisation of public assets, such as the railways or healthcare, said Unite.