Paris, London and Munich Re-Municipalized! Is your community following the trend?

EPSU Press Release - 7 May 2012

EPSU trade union representatives from more than 20 European countries will discuss at the EPSU Annual Conference Local and Regional Government in Riga on the 8th of May about the advantages and challenges of remunicipalization.

Local and Regional authorities across Europe are responsible for the delivery of a wide range of services to citizens, which include: public passenger transport, public utility services (water supply and waste water treatment, waste management), health and social services (health care, child care, care of elderly people), public employment services, education and vocational training, cultural services, etc.

Austerity policies push for these services to be put on the market and be run for profit. Some large European cities as Paris, Munich or London who first took the path “first the market, then the state” have realized that the results of privatization of municipal services are alarming and do not deliver. Therefore they correct the mistakes of the past. They have remunicipalised services and run them for long-term successes and the public interest again. A recent study commissioned by EPSU from the University of Greenwich Public Services International Research Unit gives many examples of privatizations that turned out to be a disaster for citizens.

Well known examples include Paris water services, London transport system and Munich Public Utilities Company. Mayors understand that they can win the hearts of the citizens who support these remunicipalization projects driven by strong citizen groups campaigning.

The current focus in many countries is on austerity to reduce public spending leading to the privatization of public services. Many municipalities demonstrate how wrong such policies are for citizens and return from failed policies by taking the services back in public hands. EPSU will encourage more debate in municipalities to reassess and better evaluate the ways in which public services are provided by private companies. Current developments regarding the remunicipalisation or insourcing of public services can be expected to gain more attention”, says Deputy General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan.

Against this background the objectives of the EPSU Annual Conference Local and Regional Government will be to:
- Examining the rational and potential advantages and challenges of “in-house”/direct provision of local public services by providing political, economic, legal and scientific arguments;
- Clarifying the reasons why the bias exists against direct provision; and
- Developing strategies to correct this, drawing on examples of effective trade union/civil society initiatives to improve services and to keep them under direct and democratic control;
- Examining potential difficulties to be addressed in case of (re-) municipalisation/insourcing public services, including in terms of implications for employment conditions.

For further information please download the EPSU briefing “Remunicipalizing municipal services in Europe” here

For more information contact Pablo Sanchez, 00 32 474 62 66 33 psanchez@epsu.org

EPSU is the European Federation of Public Service Unions. It is the largest federation of the ETUC and comprises 8 million public service workers from over 275 trade unions; EPSU organizes workers in the energy, water and waste sectors, health and social services and local and national administration, in all European countries including in the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood. EPSU is the recognized regional organization of Public Services International (PSI).

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