KEEP THE LIGHTS ON !

{Press Communication: Brussels

Immediate release, 28 November 2005}

The European Federation of Public Service Unions, EPSU, organises a demonstration 1 December 2005, Brussels. 1500 or more workers are expected to descend on Brussels to make their voice heard. The Council of Ministers for Energy meets that day. The ministers are considering progress with the internal market for electricity and gas. A Commission evaluation report is on top of the agenda. The trade union message:

Keep the lights on. Stop the deregulation madness.

Delegations are expected from several countries: Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Slovenia, UK amongst others. In some other countries local actions will take place.

Practical details for 1 December

Starting time 11.00 (Place de Meeus, near place de Luxembourg and the European Parliament)
End Approximately 12.30 (Rond Point Schuman, Council of Ministers Building Justus Lipsius)

If you want to arrange interviews with EPSU leadership or with delegations from one of the countries, please call EPSU press officer Brian Synnott, + 0474 98 96 75.

Background


The unions will draw attention to their evaluation, which shows that liberalisation has:
-* not brought more employment
-* not lowered prices for citizens, and
-* not delivered a more secure and reliable energy system.
-* Workers in the energy sector have lost out: 300.000 job losses over 10 years.
-* Lack of investment in infrastructure, in generation capacity, in training and qualifications and in Research and Development combine to threaten Europe's long-term secure, safe and affordable energy systems.

The trade unions say:
-* Allow Member States to keep markets closed and regulated for domestic users. No forced opening in 2007
-* Set targets for investment, including in training, research and development, and maintenance and repair
-* No forced ownership unbundling
-* Future measures should lead to marked improvements in employment and security of supply. New measures should improve public service obligations and give users more rights, strengthen reliability and contribute to sustainable development.

Another problem to which EPSU wants to draw attention is the lack of a social pillar in the South East European Energy Treaty. This extends the internal market to the countries of South East Europe. But without the social laws and regulations that apply in the EU.

For the detailed evaluation by Public Services International Research Unit(University of Greenwich). The summary of the report “the European Union gas and electricity initiatives” is available in 10 different languages (En, Fr, Ger, It, Sw, Croat, Bulgarian, Romanian, Czech and Hungarian.) You can also find the detailed position of EPSU there.

For background on EPSU's recent energy work

and for our campaign on the social dimension of the South East European Energy Treaty


For information please contact Jan Willem Goudriaan or Brian Synnott, + 32 2 2501080 or send an email to epsu@epsu.org

{EPSU is the European Federation of Public Service Unions. It is the largest federation of the ETUC. 8 million public service workers and their 213 trade unions are members. They organise workers in health and social services, local and national administration, energy, water, waste.

In the energy sector EPSU organises in electricity and gas, in production, transmission, distribution, retail and auxiliary services. Our members work in power plants using all fuels such as nuclear, hydro, coal, renewables, gas and wind. Our employers are small and large public (state and municipal) and private companies.
}

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