In April 2023 EPSU and PSI, the European and global trade union federations representing public service workers, launched the INQPS project aimed at developing an online course on insourcing/remunicipalisation – the bringing of services back under public control and management – to the benefit of their local affiliates, their members and the many communities that they serve.
The project has the financial support of the European Commission and is due to finish in March 2024 with the public launch of the online course.
Evidence from the Transnational Institute (The future is public) and the database maintained by the University of Glasgow (Public futures) indicates that there is a trend towards bringing public services (back) in-house and insourcing workers for a wide range of reasons. These can include the need for more flexibility and control over service provision at no extra cost to the public; service continuation and resilience at times of crises (e.g. the Covid pandemic); ensuring quality and equity of service because better value and universal access can be best delivered through direct management and provision of services.
Public service workers enjoying decent working conditions are best placed to deliver quality services to users and communities. The transition process that the return of outsourced or privatised services to public ownership and management raises a number of challenges and opportunities for public service trade unions in relation to the lead up to and implementation of any insourcing and what this will mean both for workers' jobs, pay and employment conditions and for the quality of service provided.
Many EPSU and PSI unions are driving proactive agendas to re-municipalisation and in-sourcing and building intelligence and experience on how to build a successful re-municipalisation/insourcing in their communities, while protecting jobs, labour conditions and organise through the process. Although every remunicipalisation is a unique case as public services and legal frameworks vary across countries and levels of government, many more PSI and EPSU unions could benefit from accessing practical and union practitioners experience on how to return public services and jobs into public services and control.
INQPS - the project
The main aim of this project is to develop an online, on-demand training course to support the work of EPSU and PSI affiliates in relation to building public services insourcing strategies and campaigns. The training course will incorporate material from a range of resources, disentangling the complexity of the issues, making relevant content easily available, accessible and actionable for a wider union audience (e.g. local branch leadership, organisers, shop stewards and workers), and practically usable to build their remunicipalisation strategies and campaigns.
The project is coordinated by the EPSU and PSI secretariats with the support of a very active steering committee which includes representatives of EPSU and PSI affiliates from Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK along with experts from the Transnational Institute, the International Transport Workers' Federation and the team at Glasgow University that runs the Public Futures database.
Following an open tender EPSU and PSI awarded the training programme contract to a consortium consisting of Progressive Policies and l’animal. Progressive Policies is headed up by Séverine Picard who has many years’ experience in the trade union movement, working for the European Trade Union Confederation and now providing training and support for a wide range of organisations, including PSI. The web and video elements of the project will be delivered by Edouard Ader and Sebastien Weisskopf who between them have plenty of experience in designing websites and videos with a focus on training.
There are seven project meetings and the reports are/will be available in English, French and Spanish.
Final meeting and launch of online course – 14 and 18 March 2024
This project was carried out with the financial support of the European Commission