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CUPE delegates met with other public sector workers in Marseille, France on Monday to strategize about promoting public water and discrediting the corporate World Water Forum.

The forum has become little more than a trade show for privatization and big water corporations. Activists have organized a counter-forum, the Alternative World Water Forum, which kicks off on Wednesday, March 14. CUPE will be a host and participate in events at both forums.

We are here to gather information and work on strategies to push back on the privatization of water,” said Mike Davidson, president of CUPE 500, representing municipal workers in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “In my home province, we have Veolia trying to get their foot in the door on waste water, and we’ve got to work together with all our allies to keep our services public.”

CUPE delegates also attended meetings organized by the global water justice movement, where representatives from governments were invited to hear our call for a more democratic and legitimate water forum that would replace the World Water Forum, organized under the auspices of the United Nations.

I represent activists and municipal water workers who know the importance of growing the grassroots, and increasing participation in our campaigns,” said Cindy McQueen, president of CUPE 389, representing municipal workers in North Vancouver. “Forging alliances and working with activists from around the world we can make a difference and build a much broader grassroots coalition.”

CUPE has opposed every World Water Forum since 2000. The forum is controlled by the world‘s largest water corporations, is unaccountable and lacks the transparency vital to decision-making about the world’s water resources and services.

CUPE’s delegation includes Davidson, McQueen, Global Justice Officer Kelti Cameron, Researcher Pierre-Guy Sylvestre and Communications Representative Robert Lamoureux.