European unions: Our health is not for sale!

15 March 2017
European public sector unions at the 2016 day of action
Public sector trade unions will demonstrate actively across Europe on 7 April, World Health Day, in the second action day against commercialisation, market-isation and privatisation of health care. World Health Day has been “chosen by health users and workers, citizen collectives, trade unions and NGOs to demonstrate against Health commodification.”

Tens of thousands of women, men and youth demonstrated in almost a dozen cities and towns last year, heeding the call issued by the European Network Against the Privatisation and Commercialisation of Health and Social Protection. Many more are expected to take part in mass actions to press home respect for health as a fundamental human right, which can be realised only with universal public health care.

As affiliates of PSI in Europe, who are members of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) rally with civic organisations and NGOs “against the impacts of privatisation, marketisation and commercialisation of health and social care on the workforce in the sector, on the patients/users/citizens and on our societies” in different European countries. EPSU will be organising a public event in Brussels.

This will be a roundtable discussion with the Belgian unions and other organisations fighting against the marketisation and commercialisation of health and other care and for the human right to health care. The discussion will provide evidence from a trade union perspective on the negative impact of the commodification of health care on the fundamental human right to health.

Discussants will also take a step further, to highlight what trade unions have done and could still do, as workers’ organisations and in conjunction with other civil society organisations, to roll back the neoliberal regimen, which is undermining gains made in promoting universal public health care, over several decades.

Now more than ever, trade unions and other civic organisations should argue and mobilise around the slogan “OUR HEALTH IS NOT FOR SALE”, and fight to realise the right to health, as a fundamental pivot of our wellbeing as humankind. This is a struggle for people over profit.

With reports from Mathias Muncher, EPSU Health and Social Services Policy Officer

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