UK should learn from mistakes of Turkey/EU customs union deal, IndustriALL Global warns

The UK should learn from the mistakes of Turkey’s customs union deal with the EU, the IndustriALL global union has warned.

Kemal Ozkan, assistant general secretary of IndustriALL Global, which represents more than 50m workers in the manufacturing, energy and mining industries, said workers’ and social rights were ignored during customs union negotiations between the EU and Turkey.

Ozkan added that the agreement also means Turkey has no say in trade deals the EU makes with third countries, despite having to abide by them.

Ozkan, from Turkey, said: “What I see at the moment is there is discussion between the EU and the UK for a solution to the customs union. We have this experience in Turkey with the customs union. Turkey now is the only country to have a customs union with the EU without an affiliation to the EU.

“I can tell you that at the time of the negotiations between the EU and Turkey, the workers and any kind of social dimension were completely forgotten. The governments of both sides, and the negotiators, just considered it an economic issue and this is why Turkey suffered quite a lot. Our expectation was that any customs union with the EU should have contained provisions for social and workers’ rights. It never happened.”

Watch Ozkan’s full Brexit Check interview here.