Connect with us


Britain’s hopes of post-Brexit US trade deal ‘depend on workers’ rights’

Britain’s hopes of a favourable post-Brexit trade deal with the US risk being undermined by the government’s lack of engagement on workers’ rights, trade unions have warned.

As a second round of US-UK talks begins this week, union leaders from both countries said Washington would push for a “worker-centred approach to trade” to help unlock a deal.

Accusing Boris Johnson’s government of failing to grasp the importance of labour rights, the TUC and the AFL-CIO, the biggest union federations in the UK and the US, said a change of tack was urgently required.

It comes as ministers push to build new ties around the world after leaving the EU, with a US trade deal considered a prize target for the government as it attempts to demonstrate benefits of Brexit.

After opening a dialogue on the future of Atlantic trade last month in Baltimore, talks resume this week in Aberdeen and London between the UK trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Katherine Tai, the US trade representative.

At the first round of meetings Trevelyan pledged she would “strengthen the protection of labour rights and the environment” and “tackle forced labour globally”.

However, the US and UK union leaders said the British government had too often hurtled into deals with unsavoury regimes that had no respect for fundamental human and labour rights.

The government had promised a role for union representatives in powerful post-Brexit trade advisory groups, which are consulted on negotiations. However, the TUC warned its nominees for the posts had not yet been confirmed by ministers, meaning unions did not have a place at the table.

In a joint statement, the two groups representing more than 17 million workers, called on the US and UK governments to work together to protect employment standards.

Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the TUC, said the UK government had rushed into post-Brexit negotiations with countries that “readily abuse fundamental human and labour rights” such as Colombia and Turkey.

“Trade deals can lift labour standards, promote decent work and reduce inequality around the world. But the UK government has agreed too many deals that leave working people worse off,” she said.

“Enough is enough. It’s time for a truly worker-centred trade approach. That means meaningfully consulting with trade unions and acting on our concerns. Only then is the US government likely to consider closer trade ties with the UK.”

Eric Gottwald, a trade policy specialist at the AFL-CIO, said: “For too long, the voices of working people have been shut out of trade negotiations or discussions. We need the TUC and its unions at the table to shape a fair agreement that lifts wages and standards on both sides of the Atlantic.”

The groups said that under Joe Biden’s administration, the US had increasingly involved protections for workers’ rights in trade negotiations in recent years, including in the latest US-Mexico-Canada agreement.

The leaders said as a result of trade union involvement in the USMCA negotiation, the agreement contains “one of the strongest labour rights enforcement chapters ever agreed”, with possibilities for sanctions to be introduced against companies that are abusing workers’ rights”.

A Department for International Trade spokesperson said: “Trade unions attended the first UK-US trade dialogue in Baltimore last month, and tomorrow the TUC general secretary is speaking in the plenary session of the second dialogue which we’re hosting in Aberdeen.

“The UK has a strong trading relationship with the US, worth over £200bn per year, and through our joint trade dialogues we can deliver a broader and even more ambitious trade agenda.

“We are committed to listening to trade unions and a wide range of voices to ensure our trade policy delivers for the whole of the UK.”

… as you’re joining us today from France, we have a small favour to ask. Tens of millions have placed their trust in the Guardian’s fearless journalism since we started publishing 200 years ago, turning to us in moments of crisis, uncertainty, solidarity and hope. More than 1.5 million supporters, from 180 countries, now power us financially – keeping us open to all, and fiercely independent.

Unlike many others, the Guardian has no shareholders and no billionaire owner. Just the determination and passion to deliver high-impact global reporting, always free from commercial or political influence. Reporting like this is vital for democracy, for fairness and to demand better from the powerful.

And we provide all this for free, for everyone to read. We do this because we believe in information equality. Greater numbers of people can keep track of the global events shaping our world, understand their impact on people and communities, and become inspired to take meaningful action. Millions can benefit from open access to quality, truthful news, regardless of their ability to pay for it.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


NY State of the State 2023: Hochul wants to tie minimum wage to inflation

New York’s minimum wage could increase annually under a proposal that is part of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s State of the State agenda.

Hochul wants to index the minimum wage to inflation, meaning that the pay floor would be subject to annual increases based on the rate of inflation. The hike would amount to a cost-of-living adjustment as economic conditions change.

The minimum wage for workers in New York City, Westchester County and on Long Island is $15 an hour. For the rest of the state, the minimum wage increased to $14.20 an hour on Dec. 31.

Hochul acknowledged in her State of the State address Tuesday that low-wage workers have been affected by high inflation, particularly rising costs of food and other goods.

Under her plan, Hochul said if costs increase, wages will too.

“Like other states that have implemented this policy, we will put guardrails in place to make increases predictable for employers, and create flexibility in the event of a recession,” she added. “But this important change will give the nearly 900,000 minimum wage workers a lifeline. Those are workers are more likely to be women, many of whom are single moms, and they are more likely to be people of color.”

Hochul’s proposal appears to be a compromise after two state legislators, Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner and state Sen. Jessica Ramos, introduced a bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage to more than $20 an hour and index it to inflation. While Hochul’s plan would lead to annual increases depending on the inflation rate, she is not calling for an additional increase before it is indexed.

Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, praised Hochul’s proposal.

“This is an opportunity for New York to break the cycle of infrequent increases that lead to the minimum wage being insufficient,” he said. “Indexing the minimum wage to inflation will allow workers and employers to have predictable and reliable increases in the future.”

Continue Reading


Manhattan Prosecutors Begin Presenting Trump Case to Grand Jury

The Manhattan district attorney’s office on Monday began presenting evidence to a grand jury about Donald J. Trump’s role in paying hush money to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign, laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against the former president in the coming months, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The grand jury was recently impaneled, and the beginning of witness testimony represents a clear signal that the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, is nearing a decision about whether to charge Mr. Trump.

On Monday, one of the witnesses was seen with his lawyer entering the building in Lower Manhattan where the grand jury is sitting. The witness, David Pecker, is the former publisher of The National Enquirer, the tabloid that helped broker the deal with the porn star, Stormy Daniels.

As prosecutors prepare to reconstruct the events surrounding the payment for grand jurors, they have sought to interview several witnesses, including the tabloid’s former editor, Dylan Howard, and two employees at Mr. Trump’s company, the people said. Mr. Howard and the Trump Organization employees, Jeffrey McConney and Deborah Tarasoff, have not yet testified before the grand jury.


Continue reading the main story

The prosecutors have also begun contacting officials from Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, one of the people said. And in a sign that they want to corroborate these witness accounts, the prosecutors recently subpoenaed phone records and other documents that might shed light on the episode.

A conviction is not a sure thing, in part because a case could hinge on showing that Mr. Trump and his company falsified records to hide the payout from voters days before the 2016 election, a low-level felony charge that would be based on a largely untested legal theory. The case would also rely on the testimony of Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer who made the payment and who himself pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the hush money in 2018.

Thanks for reading The Times.
Subscribe to The Times
Still, the developments compound Mr. Trump’s legal woes as he mounts a third presidential campaign. A district attorney in Georgia could seek to indict him for his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state, and he faces a special counsel investigation into his removal of sensitive documents from the White House as well as his actions during the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Mr. Bragg’s decision to impanel a grand jury focused on the hush money — supercharging the longest-running criminal investigation into Mr. Trump — represents a dramatic escalation in an inquiry that once appeared to have reached a dead end.

Under Mr. Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the district attorney’s office had begun presenting evidence to an earlier grand jury about a case focused on Mr. Trump’s business practices, including whether he fraudulently inflated the value of his assets to secure favorable loans and other benefits. Yet in the early weeks of his tenure last year, Mr. Bragg developed concerns about the strength of that case and decided to abandon the grand jury presentation, prompting the resignations of the two senior prosecutors leading the investigation.



Continue Reading


Mayor Adams Announces Steps as New Concealed Carry

New Signage to be Posted to Warn Pedestrians When Entering “Sensitive Locations,” Like Times Square
City Website With Frequently Asked Questions Will Ensure New Yorkers Are Aware of New Regulations
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced that the city is launching a comprehensive outreach plan to educate and inform New Yorkers about new state legislation, going into effect tomorrow, governing concealed carry regulations across the state. The provisions of the legislation will require concealed carry license applicants to meet revised eligibility requirements and complete a state-regulated firearms training course, as well as defines certain “sensitive locations” where concealed carry licensees are not permitted to carry guns within.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision was the shot heard round the world that took dead aim at the safety of all New Yorkers. New York City will defend itself against this decision, and, beginning tomorrow, new eligibility requirements for concealed carry permit applicants and restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons in ‘sensitive locations,’ like Times Square, take effect,” said Mayor Adams. “We will be posting signage at every entrance into Times Square informing those traveling through that the area is a gun-free zone and that licensed gun carriers and others may not enter with a gun unless otherwise specially authorized by law. As mayor of New York City and a former police officer, my top priority will always be the safety of all 8.8 million people who call this city home, so while the Supreme Court decision may have opened an additional river feeding the sea of gun violence, we are doing everything we can to dam it and keep New York the safest big city in America.”

Later today, the city will post temporary signage around Times Square informing those traveling through that the area is a gun-free zone, and licensed gun carriers and others may not enter with a firearm unless otherwise specially authorized by law. Signage will be posted at other “sensitive locations” in the near future.

The city will also launch a website tomorrow with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to educate New Yorkers about the law. The FAQs will provide an overview of the legislation and what changes New Yorkers can expect. The page will be updated periodically to respond to New Yorkers’ concerns and provide helpful information.

“In response to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down New York’s century-old concealed carry law, we took swift and thoughtful action to keep New Yorkers safe,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul. “I refuse to surrender my right as governor to protect New Yorkers from gun violence or any other form of harm. In New York state, we will continue leading the way forward and implementing common sense gun safety legislation.”

“Ignorance of the law is not an excuse to break it, but we are still committed to making it abundantly clear to every resident and visitor what the provisions and effects of this new legislation are,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III. “What this decision doesn’t change is the fact that the NYPD and all of our public safety agencies remain focused on protecting this city. We have worked tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to prepare for the new regulations, and will continue to make safety priority #1 as this legislation goes into effect.”


“The state has developed a licensing regime that is consistent with Bruen and protective of commonsense eligibility requirements — and the city has worked in close coordination with our partners at the state level to implement the provisions going into effect this week,” said City Hall and Mayoral Chief Counsel Brendan McGuire. “We will continue to use every legal tool at our disposal to keep New Yorkers safe.”


“Nothing about the new requirements going into effect regarding legal firearm possession changes the fact that the NYPD remains prepared to ensure public safety in Times Square and elsewhere throughout New York City,” said New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “The NYPD’s focus on detecting and interdicting illegal guns — and arresting those who unlawfully possess them — remains a cornerstone of our continuing fight to eradicate gun violence.”

“The city is committed to doing everything it can to assist in keeping New Yorkers safe,” said New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix. “Our work at the Law Department is ongoing to help the city implement the state’s new laws and ensure public safety, while respecting the constitutional rights of lawful gun owners.”

“Mayor Adams is committed to keeping New Yorkers safe,” said Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Director Deanna Logan. “We are working with our partners across the city and state to educate the public on the new regulations, strengthening social interventions that reduce the harm of illegal guns to achieve the right balance between responsible gun ownership and public safety.”

“There is no place for personal firearms at the ‘Crossroads of the World,’” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “Times Square is a safe, global attraction for the millions of residents, commuters, and tourists who visit and pass through it every day. We are grateful for the work of Mayor Adams and the City Council to ensure this iconic space remains welcoming to all.”

On June 23, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York’s handgun-licensing law in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. Before the Supreme Court’s decision,the law required applicants for conceal carry gun licenses to show “proper cause,” but the court ruled that New York state’s “proper cause” requirement violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

On July 1, 2022, New York state enacted Chapter 371 of the Laws of 2022 in response to the limitations set forth under the Bruen decision. The state law revises specific eligibility requirements to the concealed carry licensing process and restricts the carrying of concealed weapons in a specified list of “sensitive locations.” It also enhances safe storage requirements and background check coordination, as well as amends the state’s existing body armor purchase ban to include hard body armor.

“New York State’s new concealed carry legislation is great news for our state, and I applaud Mayor Adams for his work to educate New Yorkers on its provisions and the new gun-free zones that will help keep our communities safe from senseless gun violence,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “In the Senate, I am proud to have helped pass the most significant piece of gun reform legislation in nearly 30 years, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which included major provisions from my gun trafficking bill to help limit the flow of illegal guns that come up the Iron Pipeline. We still have more work to do, but New York’s leaders are working diligently at the federal, state, and city level to keep our streets safe and to put an end to the epidemic of gun violence.”

“We have an epidemic of gun violence in this country, our nation is awash in guns—too many of them in the hands of people who pose a threat to our streets, to our schools, to our supermarkets and even to our houses of worship,” said U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, chair, House Judiciary Committee. “With an out-of-control Supreme Court that has mangled the meaning of the second amendment and overturned New York’s century old law that provided for reasonable restrictions and gun safety measures for the public, I am pleased that New York has taken action to require concealed carry license applicants to meet eligibility requirements and complete a state-regulated firearms training course, and has designated certain “sensitive locations” like iconic Times Square, where concealed carry licensees are not permitted to bring guns.  These actions today will make New Yorkers safer, and tells anyone that New York will do everything within its power to ensure the safety of its residents and visitors.”

“Designating ‘sensitive locations’ in a city as populated as New York is imperative to keeping our people, children, and vulnerable populations safe,” said U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks. “We cannot let senseless gun violence continue to harm our schools, subways, and communities. I applaud these new regulations going into effect swiftly after the Bruen decision, and Mayor Adams for launching a comprehensive plan to educate and inform New Yorkers on how to protect each other and our city.”

“Gun safety and gun violence preventive measures are critical to helping keep New York City families and visitors to our city safe,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “I commend Mayor Adams on today’s announcement to ensure gun-free zones at sensitive locations including in Times Square and other high traffic locations around the city. We must continue to prioritize safety measures and vigilance — to help keep people safe.”

“Even after the U.S. Supreme Court’s reckless and outrageous Bruen decision invalidating New York’s century-old concealed carry weapons law, New York will keep its obligation to protect our citizens,” said New York State Senator Brad Hoylman. “I’m proud to have secured the protection of Times Square, one of the most visited tourist sites on the planet, as a sensitive location where concealed weapons will not be permitted. It’s crucial to the recovery of our local economy, including Broadway, that Times Square be a gun-free zone and that its 50 million annual visitors feel safe from the dangers of gun violence.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision to dismantle the concealed carry law has opened the door to even more senseless gun violence. Banning concealed weapons in sensitive locations — like schools, government buildings, and places of worship — are the ‘common sense gun laws’ that the majority of Americans want and need,” said New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn. “Thoughts and prayers after countless mass shootings aren’t enough. We have to take action to stop a Supreme Court determined to strip away sensible gun laws that protect everyday New Yorkers and Americans.  Mayor Adams’ decision to make Times Square and other densely-populated destinations ‘gun free’ is a much-needed step to protect New Yorkers. These regulations are intended to protect everyone, including law-abiding gun owners.”

“New York must continue to be a place where we do everything we can to reduce gun violence,” said New York State Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz, chair, Assembly Codes Committee. “Although the Supreme Court and gun rights advocates are trying their hardest to undermine our ability to keep people safe, the state has implemented new requirements to ensure that our gun laws remain in compliance with recent judicial rulings. I am glad to see sensitive area signage being installed as well as a new city website to help all New Yorkers understand the changes in our gun laws.”

“Over the past year, my colleagues in the state legislature and I worked hard to encode new laws to protect New Yorkers from gun violence, including important revisions to the state’s concealed carry program,” said New York State Assemblymember Chantel Jackson. “Despite opposition from the Supreme Court, we passed laws to protect the program from abuse, including designated areas where concealed carry will not be permitted. This is a major victory for New Yorkers, and I support the mayor’s efforts to inform the public about the new program.”

“After we passed our gun safety bill in the extraordinary session in Albany, Mayor Adams is implementing and educating New Yorkers on this life-saving legislation,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “The mayor will ensure that everyone knows where our gun-free zones are, from schools to subways to Times Square. In a year where there have already been 1,000 shootings, including one last week in my district that left a man in critical condition, this preemptive action will keep firearms out of sensitive areas and stop gun violence before it starts.”

“When the Supreme Court sided with the NRA’s New York chapter to weaken gun safety laws, the state legislature stepped up and passed a new law to address crime in New York,” said New York State Assemblymember Manny de los Santos, MSW. “Thank you, Mayor Adams, for speedily implementing this new state law to keep New Yorkers safe.”

“Gun violence has torn apart too many families and threatens community safety,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. The city’s steps to implement enhanced training and no-gun zones in high traffic areas will help keep these deadly weapons out of hands and off streets where they do not belong. I commend the state legislature for acting swiftly to strengthen our concealed carry laws that will protect New Yorkers.”

“Gun violence is a serious crisis in our city and nation, and the Supreme Court’s misguided decision to strike down New York’s concealed carry gun law presented a major challenge to keeping New Yorkers safe,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Our state government leaders acted swiftly and responsibly by passing regulations to prioritize our safety, including the designation of sensitive locations like Times Square as gun-free zones. With the new law set to go into effect on September 1st, the council and administration are working closely to define and implement the boundaries of the Times Square sensitive areas through administrative rules and legislation. It is also imperative for the city to take steps so residents and visitors alike are clear about the new law and designated areas where gun-carrying is restricted. We will continue to pursue new initiatives that keep our communities safe by preventing violence, investing in solutions, and limiting the over-proliferation of deadly firearms.”

“The Bruen decision was a setback in the fight against gun violence, but I want to reassure all New Yorkers that we are using every tool available to hold accountable those who illegally use dangerous firearms,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “We commend the mayor’s office for its efforts to educate the public about the impact of the decision and the new regulations enacted in response. We will work hand-in-hand with our law enforcement partners, city officials, businesses, and community leaders to enhance awareness, answer questions and keep out communities safe”.

“Fewer guns on our streets and in our neighborhoods correlates with lower levels of gun violence,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “While the Supreme Court’s recent decision has forced our state to adopt more permissive concealed carry laws, the legislature’s quick action to prohibit the concealed carrying of handguns in sensitive areas in New York was an essential step to keep us safe, and these signs will help law-abiding gun owners comply with the new laws.”

“While I and many others in law enforcement remain deeply concerned over the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding concealed carry regulations, we must now face this new reality together and join forces on all levels of government to ensure our city has effective stopgaps in place to prevent future gun violence from spreading in our communities,” said Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon. “I applaud Mayor Adams and his team for putting this comprehensive plan in place and we will continue working closely together to educate New Yorkers about these new regulations. At the same time, my office will continue to vigorously prosecute anyone who violates our gun laws and threatens the safety and security of our communities.”

“While the Supreme Court works to make it harder to keep guns under control, Mayor Adams, Governor Hochul and the state legislature are taking steps to protect New Yorkers in sensitive areas of our city,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “The simple fact is the fewer guns on our street the safer everybody will be, and we must continue to work to better control all guns in this country. But I’m proud of the work the mayor and state legislature have done to restrict conceal carry weapons, and to educate New Yorkers about a law that will undoubtedly help keep people safe.”

“The Supreme Court decision overturning our state’s long-standing concealed carry regulations was horribly misguided and deeply undermines our efforts to combat the scourge of gun violence, which has stolen precious lives and ripped apart grieving families for far too long,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Thankfully the state adopted revised rules to mitigate the damage done by the court’s awful decision. I commend Mayor Adams and his administration for educating and informing our city’s residents about these revisions and for their continued work to keep our families safe, despite the roadblocks imposed by the court.”

“The erosion of New York State’s Sullivan Act to restrict one’s ability to carry a concealed handgun outside of their residence puts all New Yorkers at risk, said New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “From Buffalo to Brookville, this new precedent allows guns in public places, including most forms of public transportation, a troubling fact considering the rise in shootings. As the city continues to see a rise in gun violence, educating the public is the first step to ensuring public safety. I look forward to working with this administration and all of my colleagues in government to expand the safety zones to better protect the public.”

“The Supreme Court’s ever-growing extremist, right-wing jurisprudence is proof that we cannot wait for the federal government to act and must take gun safety into our own hands,” said New York City Councilmember Crystal Hudson. “This public outreach program is a much needed first step to ensure everyone knows that while New York City may be welcoming to all, it is not welcoming to guns. I look forward to working with the administration and state lawmakers to limit concealed carry regulations to the greatest extent possible and enacting additional measures aimed at ensuring anyone coming to New York – from residents to tourists – understands the law.”

“In response to the unfortunate decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, I commend Mayor Adams for taking action that will keep guns out of sensitive locations such as Times Square,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin. “In this critical moment following “proper cause” being struck down for concealed carry arms, we must keep New Yorkers safe. As a former commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, I made it a priority to investigate potentially illegal and unlicensed sales of secondhand guns in New York City, and we must continue to keep guns off our streets and use every tool in our toolbox.”


Continue Reading


Copyright © 2017 Zox News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by WordPress.