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The world is in turmoil. Today we are witnessing an alarming trend towards right-wing, nationalist, populist, fascist and fundamentalist policies, and even war, that threatens the social peace and progress that we civil society has achieved in the last 70 years. Politicians such as Trump, Le Pen, Erdoğan, Netanyahu, May, Orbán, Wilders, Duterte and Temer are exploiting peoples’ vulnerabilities and fears, and polarizing public opinion, leading to an “them and us” rhetoric of confrontation.
Moreover, an unprecedented concentration of wealth in the hands of the very few has created an enormous imbalance of power that it is being used to hijack decision-making, with the aim of further concentrating wealth and power. The lie of globalization as a panacea that would bring prosperity for all has led to distrust in politics and institutions. It is clear that the markets have no answers for the great global challenges of our time.
On this 1st May, we are demanding a better and fairer world, defending strong democratic states and inclusive societies, ensuring economic development and the redistribution of wealth for the benefit of all. Public service workers and their unions shall be the custodians of an alternative world and a better future.
In our daily work, public service workers can provide a perspective that goes beyond “them and us”. We provide services to the sick and the healthy, women and men, children and seniors. We risk our lives and protect when disaster hits, when emergencies arise – not for profit but for the good of all. In providing our services, we demonstrate that we can transcend the ‘rich and poor’, ‘black or white’ paradigm. We unite, we do not divide.
Public sector workers and their unions are in a unique position to provide a clear vision for democracy, human rights, redistribution of wealth, dignity, and equality for all. A vision that most citizens of the world are desperately seeking. We are central to this fight and we must not shun our responsibility.
We, as public service workers, hold the answers in our hearts and in our hands. We, and our trade unions, can provide the hope for a better world. Let’s show the world that we can make a difference.