Labour’s Trade Policy 2021
On 28th May 2021, Frances O’Grady and I hosted a hugely productive joint roundtable event to discuss with Labour Party members and Trade Unionists what a trade policy framed around the interests and rights of workers would look like for the UK.
As well as international guests from Australia, Belgium, Colombia, and the United States, we had speakers from Unite, the GMB, Prospect and the TUC itself, and were joined by my frontbench colleagues, Andy McDonald, Chi Onwurah, Bill Esterson and Gareth Thomas.
We held three panel sessions looking at: (i) what that trade policy would mean at home, especially in terms of job creation and public procurement rules; (ii) what that policy would mean overseas, particularly in terms of standing up for workers’ rights and trade justice; and (iii) international best practice in terms of the involvement of unions in trade negotiations.
Based on our discussions that day, I said it was vital for us to continue working as a movement to flesh out what a worker-centred trade policy would look like for a future Labour government, covering everything from our plans for consulting unions on potential trade deals to the model chapters on workers’ rights that we would want to see in those deals.
This draft document seeks to deliver on that promise, and will I hope provide us with a basis for meaningful discussions over the coming weeks and months and allow us to publish a final, agreed document by the end of the year, reflecting the input of our trade unions, party members and MPs.
I look forward to discussing it with you.