All work has dignity, and all workers deserve to be treated with respect by their employers. Trade unions play a decisive role in improving working conditions, safety and wages – yet some governments and employers systematically abuse the right of workers to join existing unions or form new ones. PSI works actively to support the right of workers to free collective bargaining, and to help stop abuses when they occur.
Public Services International sends its solidarity and support to its affiliates and all public sector workers in Swaziland. The workers were surprised and angered by a pay rise for government officials while their own claim for a salary was refused.
Four months ago, the Geneva University Hospitals, HUG (Hôpitaux universitaires de Genève) took a unilateral decision to increase daily working time of operating theatre nursing assistants from 8 hours to 10 hours. With the support of their trade union SSP, the workers mobilised against the management decision and in November they will return to their usual 8-hour day.
For the last nine years, public administration employees working abroad for the Spanish state have suffered an unjust and arbitrary wage freeze. Precarious working conditions and, in many countries, rampant inflation and strong fluctuations of local currencies have further compounded the issue.
The Health Committee of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine reviewed the appeal of PSI affiliate, the Health Workers’ Union of Ukraine, to assist in meeting the healthcare workers’ demands towards public authorities made at the All-Ukrainian Protest on 19 September.
On 19 September, healthcare workers organised a mass protest in Kiev in which more than 1,500 people took part. Among their basic demands are the increase in healthcare subvention of almost 4 billion UAH, higher wages and payment of arrears, and reform of the healthcare system in compliance with the Constitution and legislation. The trade unions also want their voice to be heard.
In the face of widening cuts to public services and attacks on the rights of public sector workers around the world, leaders of private and public sector trade unions, municipal governments and civil society groups made the unprecedented joint commitment to work together to promote investment in quality public services backed by fair taxation policies as the key solution to the economic crisis, and the best way to build peaceful, equitable, democratic and environmentally-sustainable societies.
Environmental and social sustainability provided the primary theme for PSI’s work in 2009. Leading into the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen in December, trade unions and civil society allies worked hard to ensure that world leaders would agree on an ambitious plan to reduce carbon emissions. Alas, this dream did not become reality. But we are committed to continuing this struggle and achieving real results.