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Where have ordinary people been ’turning the tide’ for public services?

Home Turning the Tide: public sector and public services in Europe Case studies: cities and countries Ø Belgium: city services in Liege Ø Bulgaria, better hospitals Ø Estonia, employment service Ø Estonia, railways Ø Finland, public electricity Ø Finland, municipal cleaning company: Palmia Ø France, water remunicipalised in Paris Ø Germany, vote for services in Leipzig Ø Hungary, vote for public healthcare Ø Spain, social services in (...)

Renationalising the railways

In 2006 the Estonian state decided to renationalise the railway system. It had been partly sold to an American company in 2001, but the company failed to deliver the investment and performance improvements which were required under its original contracts. In addition, the privatisation meant that the railway system was not eligible for EU infrastructure funds, and this public finance was more crucial for investment in Estonia’s railways than the private company’s performance. As a result, (...)

Improving health services in Gabrovo

In 2000 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank insisted on changes to the Bulgarian healthcare system, without any real public debate. Polyclinics were replaced with a GP (general practitioner) service and finance was changed from general taxation to a 6% insurance contribution. Multiprofil Hospital, Gabrovo, Bulgaria - Images by Philip Wolmuth The system suffers from underfunding and emigration of staff to other countries due to poor pay. The Multiprofil hospital in (...)

Campaign defends publicly financed healthcare

In 2006 the Hungarian government proposed health service reforms which included hospital closures, the introduction of fees, and the privatisation of health finance by the creation of regional, part private, insurance funds. Parliament first passed a law to introduce fees for patients, which had to be paid every time they saw a doctor or stayed in a hospital - the same law introduced fees for other public services, including university education. Oposition parties organised a campaign (...)

Remunicipalisation of water services

Unlike most countries in the world, water services in France are mostly run by private companies, and dominated by the large multinationals Suez and Veolia. In 1984 a right-wing council controlled the city of Paris, and awarded 25-year contracts to both companies for water distribution in the city, each covering one half of the area. The two companies not only held the contracts for water distribution, they also owned 14% of SAGEP, the part-municipal company which was supposed to regulate (...)

Estonia: Employment service expands

Estonia has enjoyed relatively low unemployment in recent years, partly because it has been easy for Estonians to find work in Finland, which is nearby and has a similar language. This is now rapidly changing due to the economic crisis, and the rise in the number of unemployed is leading to economic stress for families and public finances. Employee and employer contributions to the unemployment insurance fund are being more than tripled, from 0.6% to 3% for employees. The growth has also (...)

Municipal company for cleaning, catering and other services

The city council has also created a wholly owned company, Palmia, to provide catering, cleaning, security and building management services, which the large private companies like ISS and Sodexo would like to be contracted out. Palmia employs 2300 people, who all have the status of municipal employees, and provides services to schools, hospitals, municpal departments and private sector customers. For more information on > Palmia And on EPSU affiliate > (...)

Municipal Home Care Service Hospitalet (Barcelona)

Recovery of the home care service of the Municipality of Hospitalet: This service was provided until May last year by the Home Care Cooperative Baix Llobregat of Hospitalet and the firm Eulen, so it was done by/through indirect management. The municipal decided, due to problems there were with the management, to recover the direct management of the service, passing through the Consortium Integrated Public Health, so 135 workers who were formerly employed by private companies now have been (...)

Municipal energy company

The city of Helsinki, capital of Finland, maintains municipal services even in areas where private companies expect to have gained from liberalisation and contracting-out. Electricity and heating services are run by a wholly-owned municipal company, Helsingin Energia. It runs the network in Helsinki and owns and managers its own power plants. Nine out of 10 households in the city continue to buy electricity from the company, despite liberalisation of electricity by the EU which allows them (...)

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