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.
Three trade unions (CGT, FP-CGIL and PCS) representing workers in cultural services in France, Italy and the UK have come together to highlight the urgent need for action to support the sector and tackle poor pay and employment conditions. They argue that the sector has been particularly hard hit by measures to tackle the pandemic and these have been intensified because of the extent of outsourcing and precarious employment. The unions are calling for a strengthening of public culture services, decent and secure employment conditions and action to stop privatisation and outsourcing. CGT (EN
EPSU, PSI and over 150 civil society organizations stand behind UN Special Rapporteur Léo Heller and denounce private water industry interference
A group of private water operators tried to block the discussion of the report on “The Privatisation of Water and Sanitation Services” of the United Nations (U.N.). 150 organisations including EPSU and PSI intervened to keep it on the agenda.
ADEDY, the public service confederation, has called a 24-hour strike on 15 October. It has a wide range of demands starting with calls for increased funding for healthcare, filling vacancies and taking appropriate anti-COVID 19 action with provision of personal protective equipment and extension and increase in allowances for dangerous and unhealthy work. ADEDY also wants to see action across the public services to tackle staff shortages and recruit more workers on permanent contracts and to stop privatisation.
Public service union UNISON reports that the Medirest private company will give its 2,200 staff, who provide cleaning, portering and catering services in NHS hospitals across England, will see their pay increase by an average of 5% from the beginning of June. The lowest pay rate will rise from £8.75 (EUR 9.80) to £9.21 (EUR 10.30) an hour, bringing it in line with the minimum rate for directly employed health workers.
The Sanidad-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have called for a range of actions in the elder care sector in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Both federations were already campaigning to secure better pay and conditions for the workforce, 90% of which are women. They both argue that the impact of the pandemic has further exposed the fundamental problems of low pay, inadequate staffing, stress, excessive workloads. These have been compounded by the lack of personal protective equipment and inadequate testing which have exposed both workers and service users to the virus. Key union
A long-running dispute in hospitals in North West England has been resolved with pay rises for workers employed by the outsourcing company Compass. Before the deal, Compass employees were on the national minimum wage (£8.21 per hour/EUR 9.65), while colleagues employed directly by the NHS were earning at least £9.03 (EUR 10.60). This meant Compass workers were losing out to the tune of around £1,500 (EUR 1760) a year (see EPSU CB News August 2019, 15). The agreement negotiated by UNISON and overwhelmingly supported by the workers means they’ll now receive a significant pay rise, more money for
Members of the PCS civil service union are continuing their long-running campaign for union recognition at the Interserve outsourcing company which provides maintenance and cleaning services at the Foreign Office. Four further days of strike action were planned for 7, 8, 11 and 12 November. Meanwhile members of the UNISON public service union are planning two days of strike action at three hospitals run by the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust. Around 1000 cleaners, caterers, porters, security and estates staff are threatened with outsourcing as part of a national trend in the health sector
The public services union UNISON has secured a major victory for around 900 outsourced security and cleaning workers at University College, London. The workers will soon see their holiday entitlement aligned with that of directly employed workers while pay, overtime, sickness and pension benefits will be brought into line by the autumn of 2021. Meanwhile the union is continuing its campaign to get better pay for outsourced workers employed by the Compass multinational at two hospitals in North West England. The minimum hourly rate for these workers is only GBP 8.21 (EUR 9.50 - the national