The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Labour Chapter promotes compliance with internationally-recognised labour rights, enhanced cooperation and consultation on labour issues, and effective enforcement of labour laws in TPP Parties.
The Chapter reaffirms TPP Parties’ obligations as members of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and requires Parties to have laws at the federal level of government that enshrine the rights stated in the ILO Declaration.
Building on internationally recognised labour rights (freedom of association, collective bargaining, elimination of compulsory labour, abolition of child labour, and elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation), TPP Parties are required to have laws governing acceptable conditions of work relating to minimum wages, hours of work and occupational health and safety. TPP Parties will, where appropriate, liaise and collaborate with international organisations such as the ILO or APEC.
TPP Parties recognise that it is inappropriate to encourage trade or investment by weakening the protections of labour laws or their enforcement. Accordingly, the Chapter prohibits TPP Parties from weakening the protections afforded to workers under their labour laws, or from failing to enforce them in a manner affecting trade and investment. The Chapter also promotes initiatives to discourage the importation of goods produced by forced or compulsory labour, including child labour.
The TPP promotes cooperation between Parties on labour issues. Areas identified for cooperation include job creation, sustainable growth and skill development, promotion of equality and the elimination of discrimination against women, and protection of vulnerable workers.
TPP Parties have agreed to form a Labour Council with representatives from each Party. The Council’s responsibilities will include: establishing priorities for cooperation and capacity building, facilitating public participation in, and awareness of, the implementation of the Chapter, and reviewing the implementation of the Chapter to ensure it is operating effectively.
Each TPP Party will be required to have a National Contact Point for labour issues, whose responsibilities will include communication with the public. The Chapter requires each Party to maintain a national labour consultative or advisory body, so members of the public may provide views on matters regarding the TPP Labour Chapter.
Should a dispute arise between TPP Parties under the terms of this Chapter, Parties must make every effort to resolve the dispute through cooperation and consultation. However, should that process fail to resolve the dispute, TPP Parties will have access to the same TPP dispute settlement procedure that applies to other Chapters in the Agreement.