Investing in Quality Public Services - Best Alternative to Austerity Cuts


Switzerland)  In the face of

widespread cuts to public services, leaders of private and public sector trade

unions, municipal governments and civil society groups have made the

unprecedented joint commitment to work together to promote investment in

quality public services backed by fair taxation policies as the key solution to

the economic crisis, and the best way to build peaceful, equitable, democratic

and ecologically-sustainable societies.

It's "our turn, our

future" concluded participants in the international Quality Public Services-Action Now! conference in Geneva,

Switzerland this week.  The Council of

Global Unions, sponsor of the three day conference attended by 400 delegates,

announced the launch of a major global campaign guided by a charter and action

plan that links local, national and international efforts to promote quality

public services. The CGU collectively represents more than 176 million working

men and women.

CGU chair Aidan White

said, "This is a call to the trade union movement to advance its historic

responsibility to work in broad social coalitions and act as a force for social

change that improves the quality of life for all citizens. We don't have time

to lose."

Kumi Naidoo,

executive director of Greenpeace International and council member of Global

Call to Action Against Poverty, called for "a new activism" to back demands for

quality public services as the foundation for social justice policies.

"History teaches

us that when decent people take risks and engage in struggle peacefully,

principally and courageously, pursuing civil disobedience where necessary, then

those who occupy the instruments of power, whether in government or in the

financial sector, will listen and respond," he said.

Susan Hopgood,

president of Education International, said, "We are conveying a powerful

message in uniting as advocates for strong schools, decent health services and

social services, clean water and proper sanitation, effective fire and security

services, affordable housing and utilities, accessible communications and

transport, public media and culture, and good public administration and

municipal services. Quality public services provide the foundation for

sustainable growth, equitable redistribution of wealth, and the means for

justice, good governance, and the exercise of democracy."

David Cockroft,

general secretary of the International Transport Workers' Federation, said the

new campaign would start in selected cities as "a rallying point for the

industrial and political power of the global union movement" and was needed

"because public services benefit both private and public sector workers, our

families and our communities."

Peter Waldorff,

general secretary of Public Services International, said the campaign will show

that as governments break collective agreements with impunity while cutting

public services and benefits, unions and allies are applying new strategies

that will build a more sustainable world and ensure social protection for all.

"It's time for action now!"

See Quality Public Services-Action Now! conference speeches and summaries at:   Council of Global Unions: