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Europe’s energy workers step up action for public services and support Bulgarian unions (3 May 2004)

The unions organising electricity workers in CITUB and Podkrepa, the two Bulgarian trade union confederations, will take regional and national action 3 and 12 May. The unions are protesting ill thought out plans of the government to privatise a number of distribution companies. The actions come after the government refused to engage in dialogue with the unions on the plans and their effects for workers and citizens. The bidders for the companies are familiar names in the European electricity industry and the take-over of the companies by these large multinational companies will increase concentration further.

The European Federation of Public Services, which represents energy workers in Europe, supports the actions. “Liberalisation and especially privatisation bring more misery than joy for workers and citizens. The benefits of liberalisation and privatisation of electricity are being questioned the world over. Governments push these foolish policies, urged on by unaccountable people in the Commission, European financial institutions and World Bank. They take no responsibility for failed policies that resulted in 300.000 jobs lost and blackouts”, said Jan Willem Goudriaan, EPSU Deputy General Secretary. “We call on the Bulgarian government to provide solid guarantees for jobs and working conditions. The privatisation plans better be cancelled to protect citizens and ensure them safe and secure services at affordable prices,” he continued on the occasion of the first action day of the Bulgarian unions, 3 May.

The Bulgarian actions are part of increased pressure of trade unions and other groups to challenge the assumed benefits of privatisation and liberalisation such as in France, Latvia, Norway, Roumania and Switserland.

For more information, please contact Jan Willem Goudriaan at + 32 2 2501080 or epsu epsu.org

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European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) is the largest federation affiliated to the ETUC and represents 8 million workers providing services to the public in health and social care, local, regional and central government, and utilities in energy, water and waste.

Press release 03 MAY 2004