CUPE is a proud and active member in the Public Services International (PSI). In this spirit of international solidarity, CUPE sent a delegation to PSI’s 29th World Congress in Durban as an opportunity to network and engage with public sector unions from around the world.
National President Paul Moist, who has served on the PSI executive board for the past three years, demonstrated global leadership in the opening session by calling for a strong message to the world from Durban this week. “We stand for food, shelter and decent jobs. We stand for public education, public health care and public water for all. We are public employees and we will build a better world.”
Later Moist chaired the session on constitutional reform and delegates passed the revised and restructured constitution providing for greater clarity. Moist also spoke to the delegates about the importance of fighting trade deals that give multinational corporations the power to sue governments for policy actions that impact their profits. “We say no to trade deals with a corporate bill of rights, we stand for fair trade and decent jobs for all workers.”
National Secretary-Treasurer, Charles Fleury spoke to delegates on the policy debate over climate change. Fleury made a strong argument against fracking which is multi-national corporations just “making a quick buck”. He pointed out that sustainable development must be brought about with public control of public services. “Our greatest natural resource is human beings – our people,” he said.
CUPE Local 2000 President, Ginette Paul spoke up about the importance of international solidarity in fighting for labour rights. “International solidarity must be a priority so together workers can demand that International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions 151 and 154, respecting the right of trade unions to exist and the right to collective bargaining, be implemented and followed worldwide.”
Michael Butler, executive assistant to Charles Fleury, spoke passionately about the need for all PSI affiliates to speak out against the proposed legislation in Uganda that would imprison LGBT workers. “Don’t let this government kill the diversity of our planet. Don’t let this government kill the beauty of our planet,” he said. The emergency resolution to call on the government of Uganda to eliminate this legislation was passed by delegates on November 28.
The new program of action, “In the Peoples’ Interest” was adopted by delegates on Nov 29. This document will guide PSI for the next five years.
During the congress CUPE was honoured along with PSAC for its contribution to our sister union in Haiti, Confederation of Public and Private Sector Workers (CTSP). CUPE, along with PSAC, led the PSI effort to re-build the offices of CTSP in Port Au Prince. And, at CUPE’s suggestion, the World Congress adopted a statement of solidarity and action for the workers killed in the horrific factory fire in Bangladesh earlier this week.
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