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The affiliates of Public Services International represent hundreds of thousands of education support and cultural workers throughout the world, many of whom work without job security, fair compensation and benefits, or recognition that their services are vital to ensuring high quality public education and culture for all citizens. The jobs of these workers are on the frontlines of the privatization and casualization struggle within the education and cultural sector, and many of these workers face challenges in pursuing their basic freedom to form a union and collectively bargain their terms and conditions of service.
On 18-19 November 2014, PSI convened the founding meeting of the PSI Education Support and Cultural Workers Network (ESCW) to confront the challenges that these workers face throughout the world and in accordance with Resolution #33, approved at the PSI World Congress in Durban, South Africa, in late 2012.
Delegates discussed the challenges currently faced by working men and women in education support in different regions, how unions organize these workers and what strategies have been developed. Reports were presented on the effects of privatization, access to quality public services and on trade union rights and labour rights violations in the education support sector. The meeting was attended by delegates from Inter-America (USA, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay), Africa (Uganda), Asia Pacific (South Korea (by Skype), Cook Islands) and Europe (France, UK (by Skype), Sweden and Norway).
The meeting adopted a Charter of the Network. The Charter foresees the creation of the Network’s Coordinating Committee, which is nominated by the PSI General Secretary and appointed by the PSI Executive Board. The Coordinating Committee is comprised of ten (10) members, including at least two (2) representative of PSI affiliates in each region: Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. The term of the Coordinating Committee is consistent with the period between World Congresses.
At IAMRECON (Mexico, 21-24 April 2015) and AFRECON (23-25 September 2015), regional meetings of the Network are planned. A meeting of the Network’s Coordinating Committee will be organized in Geneva, on Friday 29th May 2015.
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