The European federation of Public Services Unions has joined TUED
EPSU, which represents 8 million public service workers, will be represented by Jerry Van Berge. Jerry is responsible for public utilities, water, waste and also European Works Councils at EPSU. He was the coordinator of the first successful European Citizens’ Initiative “Water is a human right!” He will serve on TUED’s Global Advisory Group, a body consisting of representatives of all unions, national and regional centers and global union federations participating in TUED.
Photograph: Jerry Van Den Berge
EPSU consists of 265 trade unions representing workers in the energy, water and waste sectors, health and social services and local and national administration. EPSU is active in all European countries including in the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood. EPSU is the recognized regional organization of Public Services International (PSI).
EPSU has taken the lead on the fight against water privatization and to establish Water for All at the EU level and has also been building international support for the struggle against water privatization, such as the recent and ongoing battle in Thessaloniki, Greece, where the city’s residents, in a popular referendum, voted overwhelmingly on 18th May 2014 to maintain the public company.
EPSU has also come out in opposition to fracking for shale gas and shale oil. In a February 2013 statement, EPSU announced it “rejects the exploitation of shale gas (and oil) given that the impact on the environment such as ground water that there is considerable public opposition given that much of these longer term effects on the life of citizens is unclear and including the contribution to CO2 emissions. Research into to the exploration of shale gas, and if under strict conditions and control, with different techniques and if there is no impact on the environment, is something EPSU does not oppose. Learning to assess the geological and hydrological circumstances under which exploration is possible is of interest to society. This should also include how to prevent that shale gas contributes to CO2 emissions.”
EPSU resolutions on Utilities and Climate Change (excerpt), Congress 2014:
EPSU re-affirms that infrastructure for public services should be publicly funded and operated. Public authorities should monitor and evaluate the performance of public service operators. EPSU will work to ensure that public service principles and values are part of European policies on environmental services, such as water, waste and energy. Tracking company policies, mergers and take-overs and establishing further European Works Councils in cooperation with affiliated unions will be important to promote and defend workers interests in multinational corporations. Climate change and access to energy remains a key issue and a particular challenge for the sector. Utilities play a prominent role to achieve a sustainable society.
Climate change is the largest single threat to current and future generations. It is the poor, particularly in developing countries, who suffer the most as they are the least able to prepare for climate change or to avoid its consequences. We are reaching the ‘point of no return’ when irreversible changes will take place and dominoes will fall, making it impossible to control future developments. Climate change is attributable to the dominant economic model and the pursuit of profit maximisation and growth at all costs. EPSU favours the mainstreaming of the fight against climate change in EU policy and legislation, development cooperation and investment decisions with clear and ambitious targets. Principles of just transition towards a low or even zero carbon society, including for workers concerned based on employment alternatives and training, should be integrated in EU policy.