(8 June 2009, Brussels) Excerpts from the speech of Carola Fischbach-Pyttel (EPSU General Secretary):
The 8th EPSU Congress takes place from 8-11 Juin 2009 in the context of the economic and financial crisis. The crisis affects everyone in the public sector with workers under threat of job loss or pay cuts.
This is why EPSU is battling on behalf of affiliates, and public service workers for good quality working conditions.
Today EPSU consists of 224 organisations, which will rise to 255 with the merger with PSI (Public Service International).
Over these last 5 years EPSU has been participating in a number of campaigns:
- The ETUC lead Services (or Bolkestein) Directive campaign. The intensive lobbying and mobilization efforts gave us a political victory: the principle of country of origin was dropped. Unfortunately, we now have the major challenge of successive pro market judgments from the European Court of Justice.
- A campaign to promote a positive legislative agenda for public services under our ‘Quality Public Services – quality of life’ campaign. Affiliates organized press conferences, demonstrations and other actions at national and local level.
- 10 Mayors of major European capital cities supported the above campaign. This gave a strong political signal of support to our cause.
- A critical campaign against the proposals for an EU directive on cross-border healthcare, under the title ‘healthcare for all’. EPSU stated that it didn’t want a European ‘supermarket ‘ for healthcare and that the legal basis for the directive should be universal healthcare principles.
- In collective bargaining EPSU was very active with major agreements concluded in all 4 sectors covered by the European Social Dialogue process.
- 200 candidates signed up to our European Election promotion campaign under the EPSU ‘public service pledge.
- EPSU also has launched ‘Turning the tide’ (www.epsu.org/humanface) which is a project that looks at the examples of ordinary people – trade unionists and concerned citizens – who have successfully resisted the liberalization of their local services.
- We have been battling to have a strong working time directive
- We have supported the ETUC efforts to secure a good EU directive on European Works Councils.
- We have organized European demonstrations on world water day, on overcrowding in prisons and have participated in all the ETUC ‘eurodemos’.
Now we need to increase this momentum and continue our good work based on our core principle of solidarity.