OTTAWA — More than 75 trade union leaders and activists from six countries will gather in Ottawa this week, under the umbrella of the Public Services International (PSI), to foster alliances and develop a coordinated agenda to prevent the privatization of public services.
“Many governments around the world are in the midst of turning control of public services over to large corporations,” says Nycole Turmel, National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). “The public is paying a huge price for this privatization in terms of less quality, less access and less accountability.”
The three-day conference, being held at the Westin Hotel in downtown Ottawa from 14—16 March, will provide a forum to share and evaluate recent union campaigns against privatization and to develop a coordinated trade union agenda in the fight for quality public services.
Representatives from Belize, Canada, Norway, South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom will be attending the conference.
“This conference is important because it’s a chance to learn from experiences in other countries and plan how we can work together across borders to push back privatization,” says Paul Moist, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). “We’ll be talking a lot about strategy and tactics, but we know that proposing ways to make quality public services even better is fundamental to our success–so there’ll be lots of discussion about this as well.”
Delivering the keynote address for the conference is Greg Palast, the multi-award winning investigative journalist and author of the New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and the book Democracy and Regulation: How the Public can Govern Essential Services.
“Mr. Palast will be delivering the critical message that we’re not fighting just for our members’ jobs or for quality public services, as important as they are, but we’re also fighting to defend democracy,” says James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). “We cannot and will not sit idly by as the essential public services that provide the foundation for our democracy are shifted to the private sector for profit rather than progress.”
For more information about this conference, contact:
Mike Luff, NUPGE Communications, 613-228-9800
Barry Doyle, CUPE Communications, 613-237-1590 ext 267
Joselito Calugay, PSAC Communications, 613-560-4235