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Public Services International, the global federation of public sector unions, has launched a world-wide campaign in support of quality public services.

At its World Congress, held in Ottawa from September 2 to 6, PSI dedicated itself to ensure that public services are adequately funded, socially relevant and free from corruption and that public service workers have full rights and decent working conditions.

The outgoing president of PSI, William Lucy, told the 1200 delegates from more than 100 countries, “The struggle for quality public services is a struggle for life itself. Only the public sector has the capacity to deliver public goods and services to everyone regardless of their income and status.”

As well, the Congress launched an ambitious campaign to achieve pay equity.

“Women’s work in the public sector is often under-valued and under-paid as the skills and work performed are not adequately recognized,” said PSI Secretary-General Hans Engelberts.

No country in the world has achieved pay equity. Women earn anything from 40 to 88 per cent of men’s earnings. Globalization and the privatization of public services are contributing to a widening gender gap in many countries. The situation is even worse in countries where workers face barriers to forming trade unions and bargaining collectively.

To help overcome these barriers, PSI has developed a new resource kit, recommending strategies to confront wage discrimination and other barriers to equality.

As one of the host affiliates, CUPE played a central role in support of the Congress with CUPE delegates speaking to resolutions on water privatization, youth participation and Aboriginal rights.

National President Judy Darcy, in a keynote speech to the Congress, called for global action at the community level to confront privateers and build public support for quality public services.

For more information on PSI and its Congress, visit world-psi.org.