Speech Given by Bernadette Ségol, General Secretary of the European Trade Union confederation (ETUC)
20 May 2014, Toulouse
[Translation from French Original]
Many PSI members want to know how public services unions in Europe are opposing and fighting for an alternative to the unprecedented attack on workers and unions rights. They recognise that the European unions contributed to building this social model, through collective bargaining and social dialogue, which provides the basis for equitable distribution of wealth, including universal access to quality public services. This model is unique, special, and is the aspiration of many workers in the world.
The citizens of Thessaloniki held a self-organised referendum on the privatisation of their water company yesterday, 18 May 2014. They overwhelming rejected proposals to privatise the company with 98% of votes against. The referendum was organised with the local support of the 11 municipalities of the metropolitan area. The mayors defied a last-minute attempt by the Greek government to clamp down on this popular initiative, threatening the volunteers with arrest by the police. The result is a success for the campaigners for public water!