R.5. Local and Regional Government

A. The EPSU affiliates meeting at their 8th Congress in Brussels from 8-11 June 2009 recognise that:

1. Europe needs a positive agenda for quality local public services, based on shared principles and values, such as solidarity, equal access, universality, continuity, adaptability, affordability, proximity, social partnership and democratic control;

2. Local self-government and local democracy are bedrocks of our societies. Citizens, workers and businesses depend on dynamic, sustainable and inclusive communities. The diversity of local and regional government structures and competences in Europe is a strength, not a weakness;

3. Integrated local and regional development initiatives will become increasingly important as part of strategies for sustainable development and also in order to respond to demographic change and the needs of an ageing population. Local public services are therefore essential for the quality of life, proximity of service delivery, local democracy and participation, territorial development and social cohesion;

4. The local and regional government sector needs sufficient, well-trained, motivated and well-paid staff. This demands good and transparent management and trade union rights to information, consultation and negotiation, strong social dialogue and collective bargaining, and an end to all forms of insecure and precarious employment.

B. The 8th Congress calls on EPSU and affiliates to:

5. Quality local public services

Develop a coordinated response to the challenges facing local and regional government, including those stemming from EU policy proposals and case law from the European Court of Justice;

6. Contribute to the overall EPSU strategy in support of horizontal legal provisions at EU level, based in particular on the Public Services Protocol, while also demanding an Action Programme on ‘quality public services’. At the local and regional level trade unions should develop partnerships or agreements between employers and public authorities on quality public services that can underpin the principles set out in the Protocol;

7. Support initiatives to improve public services and to counter marketisation of services, including by:
-* developing policies and actions to improve public services at local and regional level;
-* asserting the importance of in-house provision of public services;
-* providing accurate and accessible critiques of PPPs, outsourcing, privatisation and other forms of private provision;
-* promoting alternatives, such as public-public cooperation, inter-municipal cooperation, re-municipalisation as well as strengthening workers and citizens’ rights and interests in PPPs;
-* pressing for the inclusion of social and environmental criteria in public procurement contracts, building on the EU Social Charter of fundamental rights and ILO Convention 94;
-* tackling corruption and supporting good administration, transparency, democratic control, impartiality, and the participation of users and social partners in the delivery of quality local public services
-* developing life-long learning and competence strategies to improve the quality of work;

8. Oppose further privatization of public services and build alliances with civil society in favour of quality local public services, to stimulate awareness and participation in decisions concerning the development of public services;

9. Pay and working conditions

Ensure that all workers in the local and regional government sector have the right to freedom of association, collective bargaining and trade union action;

10. Strive for good pay and working conditions, including pensions, for workers in local and regional government, municipal organizations and private companies active in local public services; and develop in the Standing Committee work on issues identified as priorities for trade unions, namely:
-* organisation of work and working time
-* health and safety
-* pay and career structures
-* protection of pay and working conditions when local and regional government services are restructured or reorganized
-* equal pay for work of equal value
-* employment status and atypical work in particular by transferring workers in precarious work into stable and permanent contracts;

11. Monitor the implementation of and follow-up to key EU social directives;

12. Social dialogue and collective bargaining

Strengthen the on-going social dialogue with the European Council for Municipalities and Regions (CEMR). In particular the Standing Committee should:
-* ensure that all countries are represented in the social dialogue
-* improve implementation of joint texts and follow-up
-* stimulate national dialogue between EPSU and CEMR members
-* strengthen sectoral social dialogue and collective bargaining in all countries through cooperation between unions
-* ensure that all local government workers are covered by a collective agreement or legal provisions, according to national practice;

13. Local democracy, finance and responsibility

Support the exchange of information and the development of policies on local democracy, including:
-* allocation of competences and responsibilities between different government levels
-* local government autonomy on the provision, organisation and funding of services.

Adopted 10 June 2009

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