An estimated 1000 union leaders from around the world will gather for the 29th World Congress of the global union federation Public Services International in Durban, South Africa from 27-30 November 2012. Under the banner In the people’s interest, PSI members will set policy and action plans on key issues concerning trade union rights and advancing public services for the common good.
PSI General Secretary Peter Waldorff says, “We are in the midst of momentous times marked by the wave of indignation and popular revolt against both dictators and neo-liberal policies sweeping our world. PSI, which represents 20 million working women and men, is committed to advancing the quality public services, supported by fair taxation policies, that build just and sustainable societies.
“From the Arab Spring, to the uprising of public service workers in Wisconsin, to the Indignados youth movement in Spain, to the student protests in Chile and Quebec, to the repeated general strikes of our affiliates across Europe against austerity policies, to the Occupy movement that was sparked in North America and spread worldwide – working people and our communities are uniting everywhere in our demands for social justice and equality. We also emphasize the need for investment in quality public services and infrastructure to ensure effective response in the cases of disasters, such as those experienced in Japan, Australia and Haiti in recent years.”
PSI President Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, the UK's largest union, says: “In South Africa and around the world, public sector unions are campaigning for quality public services. We recognise that public services of the highest level of quality achievable are required for equitable distribution of growth and sustainable development. Quality public services guarantee access, they are affordable, democratically accountable, provide for social justice, elevate the quality of life, and offer the opportunity of prosperity.”
Tozama Mantashe, Chair of PSI’s South Africa Congress Coordinating Committee, and Second Deputy President of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union adds, “We are proud that PSI is also making a major contribution in terms of a community-building legacy through our Quality Public Services-Action Now! campaign in Durban, an initiative endorsed by the Council of Global Unions. This project brings together unions, civil society organisations and eThekwini municipal representatives in a new model of social dialogue to improve public service delivery to local residents.”
The values, policies and actions of Public Services International are anchored in a world vision of democratic societies wherein quality public services advance and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, enabling equity, solidarity and prosperity to flourish. PSI’s proposed programme of action for the coming five years centres on working to eliminate inequality, social injustice and the imbalances aggravated by capitalism, corruption and financial profiteering.
PSI World Congress host affiliates: Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA); Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (HOSPERSA); National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU); National Public Service Workers Union (NPSWU); National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW); Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU); South African Democratic Nurses Union (SADNU); South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU)
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