Hans Engelberts

(14 April) It is with deep sadness that we have learned Monday morning 13 April that Hans Engelberts has passed away after a long sickness.
Hans Engelberts was General Secretary of the Public Services International from 1981 to 2007. Our thoughts go to his family, his children and grandchildren and his friends in this moment of sorrow and loss.



Having started his trade union career in the predecessor of AbvaKabo in the Netherlands, Hans dedicated his life to the PSI. He has contributed to the development of the organisation in major ways:
PSI has grown its membership during his time of office, in Europe alone membership figures doubled from the late 1970ies to today. Hans was instrumental in building relations with trade unions in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the wall.

The PSI office was relocated in the early 1980ies into the vicinity of Geneva. This established the basis to develop close working relationships with the international organisations, most notably the ILO. Hans was also leading the campaigns against the structural adjustment programmes of the World Bank and the IMF and tirelessly campaigned for trade union rights.

PSI successfully became a global trade union organisation encompassing all continents. A strong regional presence was established across the globe and regional trade union activities were successfully developed.

PSI has been at the forefront to work for equal rights and gender equality
Under the leadership of Hans Engelberts, PSI has built a profile as the International of public service workers, mobilising for full trade union rights, for quality jobs and fighting privatisation across the globe. Just ahead of the PSI Centennial Congress in 2007 in Vienna Hans Engelberts said:”The free market system was incapable of dealing with big global threats. Public services had stepped in when the private sector had failed in the past. After 30 years of neo-liberal policies of public spending cuts, privatisation and unfettered free markets, communities across the globe were looking to trade unions and other civil society groups to defend public services.”

Hans has also been part of the developments that led to the development of EPSU as the European voice of Europe's public service unions working with the PSI to defend workers' interests. We will remember Hans Engelberts as a progressive trade unionist, devoted to the international trade union cause.

Jan Willem Goudriaan,
EPSU General Secretary


- Read more on the PSI website