Over the years, our affiliates have had some success in slowing privatisation efforts. This has been especially in the water supply and sanitation sectors. But the attacks in education support, health and municipal services continue, and in some cases are more coordinated and determined. Working together with like-minded civil society organisations, our affiliates have been able to slow the pace, but there are always new threats and new forms of privatisation.
Public Private Partnerships, mutualisation, labour outsourcing, precarious contracts through intermediary firms and other forms of privatisation have spread throughout the region.
Privateers are not necessarily from large developed countries. In some cases there are local and national private companies acting on their own and in others, they are part of regional or international groupings and consortia. Those who drive privatisation are well-coordinated and they operate locally, nationally and regionally, often directed by their global counterparts. They use a variety of means to foster privatisation: international trade agreements, donations to political campaigns and strong lobbying of public budget and loan processes of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and the regional development banks. We also see their influence in the policies and actions of diplomatic and trade missions.
In many countries of the Inter-Americas, the health services sector is a key target for privatisation. Medical tourism, organ transplant services and similar practices are developing throughout the region. The medical and associated pharmaceutical services are designed to make profit and there is little or no focus on improving and servicing the health care needs of communities. The privatization of the health care sector impacts even the power of v.4/April 2015 communities and their leaders to establish standards of care.
A key component of PSI’s strategy is to develop and define specific sectoral approaches to fight privatisation in all its forms and propose alternatives that build fair and sustainable societies. In this regard, PSI Americas will undertake the following broad actions:
- assist affiliates in developing sectoral strategies that focus on providing alternatives to the privatisation models being proposed;
- build the knowledge, skills and competencies among affiliates to engage with transnational companies and corporations that promote privatisation;
- develop profiles of and analyse the major national and transnational corporations (TNCs) in the region that push privatisation;
- compile for affiliates successful strategies and lessons learnt in confronting these TNCs;
- work with affiliates to develop tools and materials to launch and implement propublic campaigns.
The fight against privatisation and the promotion of alternatives relies heavily on our affiliates’ ability to promote the value and contribution of public services to local, national and regional development. This requires our affiliates to demonstrate credibility, integrity and competence in campaign actions. PSI Americas will therefore:
- use PSI’s global reputation and reach to enhance the local, national and regional credibility and reputation of our affiliates;
- work with affiliates to develop tools and capacity to promote and defend quality public services;
- compile and make available to affiliates examples of successful models of public management;
- equip, integrate and involve women activists, young worker activists and activists from other equity-seeking groups as key partners in campaigns and actions to promote the value and benefits of high quality public services.