Public sector workers – the wrong target

{{Statement on International Public Services Day by the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) {{{Public services urgently need an alternative to austerity!}}}}} (23 June 2012) The continuing focus on austerity by the European institutions and national governments has already taken a heavy toll on public services. EPSU has been monitoring the immediate impact in a series of research reports but these can only give an indication of the serious, long-term damage that is likely to be the result of cuts in public sector staff and resources. EPSU general secretary {{Carola Fischbach-Pyttel }} said: “{Our members across Europe are facing a major struggle to defend their jobs and maintain the vital services that they provide. The reports we have commissioned reveal the pressure they are under but also raise major concerns about what austerity means for the future, for the delivery of quality public services and for sustainable development.}” The crisis that was caused by an inadequately regulated financial sector was turned into a problem of public sector debts and deficits and cuts to public sector workers’ pay and jobs became part of the solution. By 2009 several countries had already imposed pay cuts. It is not possible to have a Quality Public Service without decently paid employees. If anyone is having to carry specially the burden of the crisis, these are public sector women workers, job cuts and pay cuts are undermining the positive contribution that many public service organisations have made to increasing gender equality. The fear is that this early assessment is only an indicator of a much deeper and wider erosion of equality across the European Union. We believe that these are false solutions. Leaders in the European Union should change course and agree a new path for Europe, of growth, social justice and equality when the European Council meets a week from now.

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