On 4 December 2016 about 1000 people marched through Geneva calling citizens to mobilize against the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Public Services International and its affiliate SSP/VPOD together with approximately 20 organisations, including solidaritéS, Les Verts and ATTAC GE participated in the protest.
Key project partners representing PSI affiliates from the Philippines, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa came together in Manila on November 28-30 to showcase project achievements, identify current and future challenges and discuss the next phase of PSI’s programme on migration and refugees.
25 November - International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Trade unions are struggling to end violence at the workplace and in society. We stand for peaceful solutions, a culture of dialogue based on the human right to health, peace and social protection. In all countries, we need a strong commitment from governments to address the deeply rooted causes of violence against women: inequality and discrimination.
At its May 2016 meeting, PSI’s World Women’s Committee (WOC) agreed that a high priority area of work is workplace violence in the health sector. The WOC also agreed that the experiences of affiliates in raising awareness and developing campaigns and actions to eliminate workplace violence will contribute to the discussions and preparation for developing an ILO standard (convention and recommendations) on violence against women and men at work. The case studies were prepared in August 2016 as part of PSI’s contribution to the ILO tripartite experts meeting held during the period October 3-6 in Geneva.
On 7 November, the ILO Governing Body unanimously endorsed the work and conclusions by a group of experts on the issue of violence in the world of work, and requested the Office to prepare the first standard-setting discussion by the International Labour Conference in June 2018.
The PSI affiliate Syndicat Suisse des Services Publics (SSP), is campaigning for the Quality of Care Over Profitability in Switzerland. This is a struggle against the 2012 Health Insurance Act which institutionalised the commercialisation and outsourcing of healthcare delivery.
Over 70 people attended Habitat III’s Trade Union and Workers Roundtable held on 18 October 2016 by a joint international trade union and allies delegation headed by Public Services International (PSI) and Building and Woodworkers International (BWI).
PSI provided input to an assessment from the water justice network of development cooperation support for the implementation of human rights. Development partners, including the World Bank, have violated human rights, including with their conditionalities for private sector participation. We call for the suspension of grant and loan programs which implicitly or explicitly promote PPP schemes. The implementation of Sustainable Development Goal #6 on water and sanitation presents opportunities to improve the practices of development partners. We point to the examples of public-public partnerships (PUPs), which are gaining in popularity but have not received adequate support from development partners – in part, because PUPs are not-for-profit. We also call for more rigorous measures to ensure that all rights holders can participate in decision-making.
A Public Services International Leadership Meeting held on 2-3 December 2015 in Washington, D.C. USA and hosted by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The objective of this PSI leadership meeting was to explore ways to work together to strengthen the fight against the global push for privatization, linking national campaigns to regional and global dynamics.
In 2015, the World Women's Committee (WOC) decided to make Equal Pay the main theme of its celebration of International Women's Day in 2016. PSI has already achieved a lot on this issue, as is widely recognised. It took the lead in calling on its affiliates, the global union federations, the ILO, governments and women's organisations to defend economic rights. PSI is now internationally recognised as a union that defends women's rights at work and in society in general.
Greece, known as the birthplace of democracy, has been reeling under the impact of punishing austerity measures imposed by the ‘Troika’ (IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank) over the past five years. Deep cuts to the public sector have left wages low and unemployment high for all working people.
Greece has agreed to cut up to 40,000 public workers over the next two years, in return for continued financial assistance. The global union federation Public Services International joined Greek workers who took to the streets in a general strike on 6 November 2013 to protest continued cuts to decent jobs and public services imposed by the 'Troika'.
Under forced austerity measures, the Greek government is cutting education funding by almost half, laying off staff and privatising remaining services. For months, there have been no classes, no new enrollment and no exams at Greece's oldest university, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and its partner school, the National Technical University of Athens, as administrative workers strike to protect public education and stop cuts to vital services including libraries and technical support.
Public workers who deliver water services in Athens and Thessaloniki are working with community allies, including “Save Greek Water,” and EPSU - the European arm of Public Services International, to keep public water systems in public hands. The government is trying to privatise and sell off these vital services under austerity measures.
The Elliniko community health clinic has become a symbol of solidarity for people in Greece who are being denied access to universal healthcare. The free municipal clinic has served more than 15,000 patients since it opened in 2011. Though a valiant initiative, run through donations and volunteers, is it a sustainable long-term solution to the pains caused by austerity and privatised health services?
David Boys, Public Service International’s (PSI) deputy general secretary, talks to Akvo's Mark Charmer and challenges theories that market-based financing is the right approach for financing water utilities around the world at the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance’s (GWOPA) global forum that took place in Barcelona from 27-29 November 2013.