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Vote on Right2Water in European Parliament showed cross-party support

(25 June 2015) While bicycling to a meeting with European Commission Vice-president Sefkovic to discuss the European Energy Union I recalled our meeting on the European Citizens Initiative Right2Water on 17 February last year and the publication of the Commission response in March. Today, a year later, the discussion has moved to the European Parliament. The Irish MEP Lynn Boylan has done a good job to reflect the demands of the ECI in her report. Close to 250 amendments have been (...)

Stop this austerity madness - let’s use Global Public Service Day 23 June to get our message across !

(17 June 2015) Some newspapers and government leaders seem to have gone mad over Greece. I get the impression they want to kick the Greek government out of office and the Greek people further into poverty. This week will see more drama as the European Central Bank and the Eurozone group of countries meet to consider the reforms they want to push on Greece. The Greek government is under considerable pressure to agree a new package of austerity measures including cuts in pensions and further (...)

Big business opposes the exclusion of public services from the TTIP trade deal

(9 June 2015) Last week I was sent a copy of an email from Markus Beyrer, the Director General of BusinessEurope, the European employer and corporate lobby organisation. Beyrer was writing to members of the European Parliament to get them to oppose the exclusion of public services from the TTIP trade agreement. He also questioned the European Parliament’s reference to labour rights while maintaining BusinessEurope’s demands for a corporate bill of rights (the so-called Investor State Dispute (...)

EPSU on tour of struggles in Madrid

(1st June 2015) Over the past three days trade union journalists from around Europe have been in Madrid getting an insight into what workers think about development in public services in Spain. They have been visiting workplaces, participating in demonstrations and talking to activists. This is a initiative by the European Federation of Public Service Unions, similar to its joint activity with Public Services International two years ago in Greece. The journalists and press officers from (...)

Better for whom ?

(21 May 2015) The European Commission published its Better Regulation Agenda on 19 May and EPSU joined with trade unions and other organisations criticising the proposals for lacking a focus on improving living and working conditions. The agenda is set up to please corporations and maybe some EU governments and does little to ensure corporations pay their taxes for example. Workers in small and medium-sized companies face further erosion of their rights including health and safety (...)

People Get Ready, A Train Is Coming

(13 May 2015) I am listening to a new version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready, A Train Is Coming”. Singer Ciara Sidine has released it to support the referendum for marriage equality (or same sex marriage) in Ireland on 22 May. The song is full of aspiration and hope. And that is the defiant reaction of UK public service union leaders to the new Conservative government in the UK, a government which even includes an equalities minister which has been openly against same sex marriage. We (...)

1 May – we demand for another Europe

(30 April 2015) On marches, at rallies and other celebrations across Europe on 1st May, the labour movement will demand an end to austerity and a new policy for Europe. I will join the march in Antwerp. Speeches there will stress the need to change a government that is attacking pay and conditions and slashing funding for public services. The public service union CGSP/ACOD organised a strike on 22 April to put pressure on the government for a change of policy and all the EPSU unions in (...)

Shocking but predictable – the largest loss of life in the Mediterranean

(21 April 2015) It was predicted by Europe’s trade unions. Cutting the public funding for the search and rescue missions for boats bringing refugees and migrants across the Mediterranean at end of last year would lead to more deaths, and nothing else. European Union government leaders carry a heavy burden of guilt. Many deaths could have been avoided. The countries of Southern Europe can not be left alone to deal with those escaping poverty and conflict searching for a better future. The (...)

With broad coalition working for change

(26 March 2015) Water activists and trade unionists from across Europe joined a demonstration in Brussels on 23 March, the day after World Water Day, to highlight the European Commission’s failure to act on the Right to Water European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). It is now already a year since the Commission published its response to the ECI and the European Parliament is now discussing its position on the ECI and its reaction to the Commission’s proposals. This was an excellent moment for (...)

Praise and protection, not jail, for tax whistleblower

(18 March 2015) EPSU supports Antoine Deltour, the whistleblower who revealed and the culpability of consultancy PwC and the Luxembourg government in massive tax avoidance (#Luxleaks). After exposing the industrial scale of the tax avoidance schemes, he is facing prosecution and a possible jail sentence. The schemes were approved by the government under the then Prime Minister and Finance Minister and now Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker. Antoine explained to our colleagues in the (...)

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