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EPSU represents workers in public and private waste companies. Many of our members work in municipal waste companies. Due to privatisation our members are confronted with, or work in private waste companies. EPSU coordinates networks of unions involved in some of the world largest waste management transnationals such as in SITA (Suez-Lyonnaise des Eaux) and Waste Management International (WMX, and now merged with US waste). EPSU’s waste group has developed a position paper on the European Waste Sector, works on health and safety issues such as the manual handling of loads, clinical waste and health hazards involved in recycling and sorting of waste. It has adopted a model clause of health and safety for European Works Councils which was first developed by UK union TGWU. EPSU has done comprehensive research on the waste sector. Some of it can be found at the PSIRU site www.psiru.org.


EPSU South East European waste management seminar: 27-28 January – Bucharest

(2 February 2016) Trade Unions from the south east European region face a number of challenges linked to public service privatization in the waste sector. Most of the unions in the sector organize the workforce in public entities or public companies. Even though the total workforce in the waste sector is increasing across Europe, TU membership in the sector might decreased in a near future due to these privatizations. The main purpose of the workshop was therefore to think about (...)

Time for more ambition on jobs in the EU’s Circular Economy Package

(16 December 2015 - press release) Today European ministers will have the chance to discuss Commissioner Vella’s proposals for the promotion of a Circular Economy when the European Commission presents its Circular Economy Package to the Environment Council. Establishing a Circular Economy through waste reduction, re-use, repair and recycling is a crucial goal in a world of rapidly rising consumption and finite resources. It will be key to achieving targets outlined in the historic COP21 (...)

‘With less ambitious targets, come fewer jobs’ say public service workers on Circular Economy

(Press Release – 2 December 2015) The new Circular Economy Package announced today is less ambitious than its axed predecessor, with weaker targets and fewer potential jobs. This despite the fact Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans promised to “prove us wrong” when he assured “a more ambitious” package was on the way earlier this summer; a claim that has now been rubbished. General Secretary of the European Federation of Public Service Unions Jan Willem Goudriaan commented: “It (...)

EPSU contribution to EU public consultation Circular Economy: Absurdistan

(11 August 2015) The European Commission withdrew the Circular Economy Package as part of its better regulation agenda earlier this year. EPSU, ETUC and many other organisations have protested against this step. Also the majority of the European Parliament criticised the European Commission. Organisations have called on the Commission to quickly come with new and ambitious proposals. The European Parliament has adopted a resolution in July 2015 that sees the proposals for the circular (...)

EPSU’s concerns about possible withdrawal of the Circular Economy Package from Commission’s 2015 Work Programme

(2 December 2014) Given its potential for green job creation, resource security, environmental protection and economic growth, combined with the strong support from a wide variety of stakeholders, we condemn a possible withdrawal of the Circular Economy Package from the Commission’s 2015 Work Programme. Therefore EPSU has co-signed an open letter to EU-President Juncker, together with a large number of organisations dealing with waste and environmental services, including the two biggest (...)

EPSU sends solidarity message to SIPTU members at Greyhound Recycling and Recovery, Ireland.

Circular Economy is the new term for Waste Management

(5 June 2014) This week is EU Green Week. Central issue is the Circular Economy. Thoughts behind the circular economy are to turn waste into a resource and to achieve a zero waste society. Read more here This is a step further than the resource efficient society that aimed to reduce waste and increase reuse and recycling. The waste industry is at the core of making these thoughts and new ambitions a reality. A circular economy is not only supposed to be good for sustainable economic (...)

Waste services in a green economy - Green jobs, safe jobs

(2 April 2014) At the occasion of the launch of a special report on working conditions in the waste and recycling sector on 27 March, the ETUI organised a conference ‘Green jobs – safe jobs’ for which it invited trade union officials, academics, NGOs and of course people from the waste industry. EPSU contributed both to the magazine and to the conference. A little impression of the conference: The European Commission wants a recycling society by 2020 where waste is either avoided or used as a (...)

Against the privatization of EGF - STAL recalls mayors support

(6 February 2014) In a recent letter sent to the Mayors, EPSU affiliate in Portugal, STAL, stresses that nothing justifies the privatization of EGF, the waste management public company, whose implementation represents a serious blow against the interests of the people and the country, which thus lose control of a strategic and crucial sector for social and economic cohesion of the territory and the quality of life. And EGF is a balanced and financially sustainable company. Privatization is (...)

Spanish private waste contractors destroy jobs - Workers resist, indefinite strike

(15 November 2013) The Spanish private contractors FCC, OHL, CESPA (FERROVIAL), VALORIZA (SACYR-VALLE HERMOSO) have proposed to their street cleaners and gardeners in Madrid to accept to cut 1 in every 4 jobs (almost 1400 out of 6000). The remaining workers should accept a pay cut of 35 to 40%. The workers and their unions including EPSU affiliates UGT-FSP and CCOO-FSP (private services) have refused this and called for an indefinite strike on 5 November. Rubbish is now piling up in the (...)

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