PSI CONTRAMA: a new confederation of municipal workers

28 August 2013
Municipal trade unions from eleven Latin American countries met in Brasilia, 5-7 August 2013, to establish a new confederation of municipal workers – PSI CONTRAMA.

PSI CONTRAMA is the result of several years’ discussion among PSI affiliated unions from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico and Paraguay. The formal founding congress of the new confederation will take place in 2014 and PSI expects more municipal unions to join the new confederation before then.

The meeting in Brasilia focused on the strategic and policy goals of the new organisation, the main objective of which is to coordinate the opposition to the neoliberal policies that endanger public services and workers’ rights including the privatization of public services, an ever more flexible labour market and the reduction of the role of the state. 

PSI CONTRAMA will stand for a strong commitment from trade unions to build quality public services for all at the municipal level.

Violations of trade union rights are widespread throughout the Americas, where collective bargaining at the municipal level is not regulated and persecution of union leaders occurs in a large number of countries. The struggle for the right to collective bargaining is at the forefront of the new confederation. Training workers to negotiate is essential and the ILO manual on collective bargaining in public services is an important tool in this respect.

There was a strong consensus that the wealthier unions need to provide assistance to their sisters and brothers from the poorer unions to ensure a greater participation of unions in the confederation. The operational and financial structure of the organisation will be discussed in the months leading up to the founding congress. PSI’s African Municipal Network uses a similar modus operandi generating more solidarity and cooperation between unions.

Further to the discussions on PSI’s gender and equality policies, participants pledged that gender parity will be upheld at the founding congress. When there are two representatives for a union, at least one representative will be a woman. In addition, at least one young worker from each sub-region will be sponsored to participate in the founding congress.

The meeting and entire process was carried out with the generous support of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and the municipal workers’ union GDG-KMSfB of Austria.

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