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Public services provide decent work; quality public services can only be delivered by workers whose rights are fully respected. To this end, Public Services International defends and advances the fundamental rights and conditions of work for all workers across the globe regardless of status. Public service unions are under attack on a global scale. From Guatemala to Botswana to South Korea, governments refuse to recognize trade unions and discriminate against unionists with the aim to silence workers’ voices who demand quality public services for all.
In the summer of 2013, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon unilaterally decided to strip UN unions of negotiating rights and suspended the Staff Management Committee. This sends an unacceptable message to the world that unions are not relevant – and is especially hypocritical coming from the global organisation dedicated to peace, social justice and upholding the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 (Article 23 Section 4) and fundamental ILO conventions on freedom of association and collective bargaining.
We hereby call on Secretary General Ban-ki Moon to fully restore collective bargaining rights to UN Staff immediately. The United Nations as an employer should set a global example.
For many public service workers, precarious employment has become the harsh reality and goes hand in hand with discrimination of women, youth and migrant workers. We want decent work for young workers and real jobs – not mini-jobs or part-time underpaid contracts. We want a fair world, without modern day slavery and widespread discrimination. Further, migration should always be an option, and not the only choice.
We want economic, monetary and tax policies that contribute to job growth and employment creation, instead of dismantling social protection mechanisms and job destruction. We need decent work and quality public services to support our communities, to provide education and health services to young and old. Replacement rates of retiring public service workers providing essential services are so low in some countries that they could lead to a social default.
We say NO to austerity and privatization of public services! Many reforms are being implemented silently, such as through trade agreements on services (TISA) that will have a massive impact on public services and negate regulation in the public interest and democracy as the negotiations are secretive and take place without parliamentary scrutiny. Our world is not for sale!
PSI stands with the International Trade Union Confederation in the commitment to organize more workers. Trade union unity and international solidarity are our strongest weapons in a globalized economy. We urge all PSI affiliates to organize their own events to mark the World Day for Decent Work this 7 October, or join in other unions’ initiatives.
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