Unison Northern Region proposal on European Network of Public services

Posted in Newcastle's blog on Tue, 16/05/2006 - 12:51,

this proposal is going to Northern region of unison from Newcastle City Branch delegates to Esf from Northern Region



Public services were a major theme at the 4th ESF held in Athens, between
4th 7th May 2006, with 7 linked seminars culminating in a final session to discuss and agree a statement outlining a future strategy around which organisations opposing privatisation and pro public service could unite.

The seminars were proposed by trade unions from Greece, Turkey, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy and a number of other bodies including EPSU.

The key outcome was to seek to develop and strengthen cross Europe co-operation and co-ordination in responding to the attacks on public services. Proposals for a European seminar/workshop in Geneva on 27th October 2006, and for a European Social Forum for public services in 2007 were agreed.

The UNISON delegations present in Athens agreed and submitted amendments to the statement and endorsed the final draft.

see statement here: Public Services Statement from ESF

The ESF provides an opportunity for regions, branches and activists to actively participate in developing networks and a European response to liberalisation, and the opportunity now exists to give this a stronger and more meaningful focus.

UNISON should not ignore the limitations evident in the sessions and the first draft of the statement, but seek to address these which representatives attempted to do through amendments to the statement. In particular

? Increase the involvement of trade unions and organisations from the UK, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe in the preparatory meetings and seminars.

? Ensure the focus is on opposing neo-liberalism whilst recognising the Bolkenstein Directive reinforces this.

? Promote the equalities agenda and the implications of privatisation for women and migrant workers in particular (one manifestation of this was the lack of women speakers in the seminars).

? Involve organisations and activists representing all sectors of public services and in particular the networks in the ESF active around Health and Education.

? Developing a shared analysis of the impact of neo-liberalism on public services and the urgency to develop an alternative public services agenda.

UNISON Northern activists held discussions with the editorial board of Eurotopia about a special European public services edition which would outline and analyse what was happening to public services in European countries, forms of opposition to privatisation, and alternative agendas. There was strong support for the initiative and a special meeting is to be held in July to discuss and plan how this can be achieved.

(Eurotopia brings together national publications with a red/green tradition (Red Pepper in the case of England) from 8 European countries, and is produced as a supplement to these publications). Such an initiative could play a positive role in developing networks and a more European wide co-ordinated response.

UNISON Northern agrees

1. To support the Athens statement on public services (attached).
2. To participate in the organisation of public services seminar on 27th October and to encourage branches to send representatives.
3. To participate in the organisation of an ESF for public services in 2007.
4. To support and participate in the preparation of a public services edition of Eurotopia.
5. To submit an emergency motion to UNISON National Conference and the NTUC in line with these recommendations.

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