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Public sector workers are the wrong target for austerity, says the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), in a statement on International Public Services Day:
"The continuing focus on austerity by the European institutions and national governments has already taken a heavy toll on public services. EPSU has been monitoring the immediate impact in a series of research reports but these can only give an indication of the serious, long-term damage that is likely to be the result of cuts in public sector staff and resources."
EPSU general secretary Carola Fischbach-Pyttel says:
“Our members across Europe are facing a major struggle to defend their jobs and maintain the vital services that they provide. The reports we have commissioned reveal the pressure they are under but also raise major concerns about what austerity means for the future, for the delivery of quality public services and for sustainable development.”
Further, the EPSU states that the crisis that was caused by an inadequately regulated financial sector was turned into a problem of public sector debts and deficits. Cuts to public sector workers’ pay and jobs became part of the solution.
Several countries have imposed pay cuts.
"It is not possible to have a Quality Public Service without decently paid employees. If anyone is having to carry specially the burden of the crisis, these are public sector women workers, job cuts and pay cuts are undermining the positive contribution that many public service organisations have made to increasing gender equality. The fear is that this early assessment is only an indicator of a much deeper and wider erosion of equality across the European Union."
Read the full statement form EPSU here.