Fighting privatisation and defending public services
Across Europe the quantity and quality of our public services and the pay and conditions of our members are under threat from privatisation. EPSU is committed to fighting privatisation in any of its forms whether contracting-out and sub-contracting, public-private partnerships or various processes of commercialisation or marketisation. This briefing on privatisation was produced for the EPSU Congress in 2019 and covers the main work done over the last Congress period and the priorities for the current period.
Public and private sector efficiency is an important report that provides a comprehensive overview of academic research that challenges the idea that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector. The future is public is the latest update on insourcing highlighting the trends to bring privatised services back under public ownership and control.
The Kommunal municipal services union has published an updated version of its regular report comparing pay and conditions in public and private elder care. The data comes from official statistics and the union’s survey of members. The latest figures show that full-time employees in municipally run elderly care earn an average of SEK 2,400 (€230) more per month than those in private elderly care providers. In 2020, the share of part-time employees was 70% among private providers, compared to 54% in municipally run elderly care and for temporary workers it was 41% in private companies and 31% in
Poor treatment of employees, outdated equipment and low quality of services – outsourcing and privatisation of municipal services has similar negative effects whether it takes place in Poland or Norway.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, neoliberal restructuring has continued unabated across Europe, with the privatisation of public services a key element of both national austerity policies, and European Union (EU) – level economic governance structures.
Turkish and Dutch unions discuss resistance to privatisation and commercialisation of public services
The Turkish unions in DISK (like Genel-Is and Devrim Saglik-Is) and KESK (SES, Tum-bel-Sen) and the Dutch FNV met to discuss the impact of outsourcing, privatisation and commercialisation of public services.
Workers in four social care organisations in Oslo have been taking strike action in support of their demands that all employees should be paid in line with pay rates in the municipal sector. Their union Fagforbundet says that pay rates for nurses are comparable to the public sector but assistant nurses and other workers could be paid around NOK 100000 (EUR 9800) a year less than people doing the same job a municipal care provider. The union is challenging two major companies – Stendi and Norlandia – to tackle this pay inequality and ensure fair pay across the sector.
Health and social care unions in the Basque region have been involved in a series of protests and strikes. Mobilisations in public health during December and January will culminate in a day of strike action on 28 January. The unions are angry about the failure of the public health system to honour basic rights to information and collective bargaining. They are concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the system and the way that management have responded by taking unilateral decisions on working conditions, health and safety and precarious employment. Two days earlier, on 26 January unions