WTO protest this Thursday

November 11, 2002

Fair trade, not free trade –

Say NO to the WTO 

Today 2 billion people live on less than US$2 per day with little access to health, education and water services, and continued destruction of the environment. The World Trade Organisation (WTO), which sets the global rules for trade, is dominated by the most economically powerful governments and is heavily influenced by corporations.

The Australian government has invited only 25 of the WTO’s144 members to a meeting in Sydney on November 14-15, 2002. The meeting is designed to pressure developing countries to support an agenda which includes:

treating essential services like health, education and water as commercial goods, opening them to privatization;

reducing governments’ right to regulate trade and investment in the public interest, and to support local jobs and development; and

further tariff cuts regardless of their impact on job losses and economic insecurity.

Progressive community groups and trade unions, including the FBEU, oppose this agenda and support fair trade regulation through open and democratic processes. We believe that:

Trade agreements should support, not undermine, human rights, labour rights and protection of the environment.

Essential public services should not be included in trade agreements.

Governments should retain full rights to regulate for social and environmental reasons, and to have industry policies to support local jobs and development.

Corporations must conform to United Nations standards on human rights, labour rights and the environment.

This Thursday, November 14, there will be a peaceful demonstration against the WTO’s agenda of privatisation, deregulation of labour laws, and deregulation of environmental protection laws. The Union’s State Committee of Management has endorsed this demonstration and there will be a FBEU contingent present.

The WTO’s push towards the privitisation of essential services is an issue for all workers, including firefighters – both in the longer term for our industry, and in the shorter term for the way our schools, hospitals, and other services will be sold off.

Members attending should meet at the Union office, 267 Sussex St, at 1130 hrs. The FBEU contingent will then move to Hyde Park for the start of the demonstration at 1200 hrs.

Chris Read,
State Secretary 



Recent news: