SEL: CETA poses a major threat to our democracy, jobs and wages and should not be approved

Finnish Food Workers’ Union SEL demands that Finland does not ratify the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement CETA.

– Democracy, the public good, the well-being of people and the environment, workers’ rights and the fight against climate change will be subordinated to the promotion of trade and investment in CETA. We hope that the MPs will seriously consider whether it is in Finland’s best interests to ratify such an agreement, says Veli-Matti Kuntonen, the SEL President.

The CETA agreement is acclaimed for facilitating business and improving employment. On the other hand, CETA has been criticised for eradicating hundreds of thousands of jobs from the EU, reducing wages and resulting in significant transfers of income from employees to owners.

SEL estimates that CETA’s threats are greater than its potential benefits.

– The position of employees in CETA is too weak. The good principles outlined in CETA’s trade and labour-related statements are but empty words, because no sanctions have been imposed on failure to comply with them, states Kuntonen.

The University of Tufts in the United States estimates that the wage developments of workers may be compromised with CETA. According to the university, by 2023, the average annual salary of an employee in the EU may be 316-1331 euros lower and in Canada 1776 euros lower than without CETA.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Employment last year submitted to the European Parliament that CETA should not be approved because the effects of the agreement on employment are likely to be negative.

– The North American Free Trade Agreement NAFTA weakened employment in the United States, even though it was supposed to have strengthened it, notes Kuntonen.

According to the opinion of the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment, the agreement would also increase inequality by increasing income disparities between low and highly skilled labour and would mean transferring income from employees to equity holders.

CETA was adopted in February in a vote by the European Parliament, from where it moved to the final stage of its approval process, to be voted in the EU Member States.

In Finland, the Government’s proposal for the ratification of the agreement will be submitted to the Parliament during the autumn. The agreement will be partially applied to trade between the EU and Canada from today, however, even though ratification in the member states is still pending.