(19 May 2017) Trade unionists and workcouncil members in the German water industry sent a powerful message of solidarity to their Greek colleagues. The Greek water groups and trade unions are opposing the privatization of their companies in Athens and Thessaloniki. These privatisations are forced by the European institutions and the IMF. The companies are operating in a financially sound way. These privatizations can only be seen as seeking the transfer of public goods to the private sector, and letting the private sector make a profit at the expense of workers and the people served by the companies. Europe’s waterworkers stand with the Greek workers against these policies. The European institutions do the same to the energy and other public companies. This is entirely against the wishes of the Greek population which has expressed on several occasions that they want to keep public services in their hands. The members of the German trade union Ver.di made their statement during the 20th water conference.
Other issues addressed at the conference included: psycho-social risks, the impact of digitalization and cybersecurity, the role and place of young workers in the union and how best to address the precarious and flexible jobs, working time and organizing. The unionists also looked at policies effecting the German water industry and including the review of the Drinking Water Directive and the Water Framework Directive. The EPSU General Secretary spoke of the continued work to realise the ECI the Right2Water in EU law and to prevent liberalization. He referred to the work of activistis for the rights of ROMA. They often do not have access to clean and affordable water services. Together with EPSU they are seeking a meeting with the European Commission. Other issues addressed included remunicipalisation. Many cities and towns are taking control back into public ownership.
The Ver.di meeting took place 17-18 May 2017 in Dortmund.