Global unions demand investment in quality public services now!
In the face of cuts to public services, leaders of trade unions, governments and civil society have made the unprecedented joint commitment to work together.
The aim is to promote investment in quality public services backed by fair tax policies as the key solution to the economic crisis, and the best way to build peaceful, equitable, democratic and ecologically-sustainable societies.
It is “our turn, our future” concluded participants in the international Quality Public Services—Action Now! conference in Geneva, Switzerland during October, 2010.
The Council of Global Unions (CGU) which sponsored the three-day conference attended by 400 delegates, announced the launch of a major global campaign guided by a charter and action plan that links local, national and international efforts to promote quality public services.
CGU chair, Aidan White, said: “This is a call to the trade union movement to advance its historic responsibility to work in broad social coalitions and act as a force for social change that improves the quality of life for all citizens. We don’t have time to lose.”
Kumi Naidoo, Executive director of Greenpeace International and co-chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, called for “a new activism” to back demands for quality public services as the foundation for social justice policies.
"History teaches us that when decent people take risks and engage in struggle peacefully, principally and courageously, pursuing civil disobedience where necessary, then those who occupy the instruments of power, in government or the financial sectors, listen and respond.”
EI President, Susan Hopgood, said: “We convey a powerful message in uniting as advocates for good schools; decent health and social services, clean water and proper sanitation; effective fire and security services, affordable utilities; accessible communications and transport; public media and culture, and good public administration and municipal services. Good quality public services provide the foundation for sustainable growth, equitably distributed, and the means for justice, good governance, and the exercise of democracy.”
International Transport Workers’ Federation General Secretary, David Cockroft, said the new campaign was “a rallying point for the industrial and political power of the global union movement” and was needed “because public services benefit both private and public sector workers, our families and our communities.”
Public Services International General Secretary, Peter Waldorff, said the campaign will show that as governments break collective agreements with impunity while cutting public services and benefits, unions and allies are applying new strategies that will build a more sustainable world and ensure social protection for all. “It’s time for action now!”
To go to the QPS conference website, click here: www.qpsconference.org/home
By Pav Akhtar
By Pav Akhtar
This article was published in Worlds of Education, Issue 36, December 2010.
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