Proposals to privatise the water company in Thessaloniki/Greece were overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum on 18 May 2014 with 98 per cent of votes against. In this guest post, his third contribution focusing on the privatisation of water, EPSU's Jan Willem Goudriaan gives an update of the struggle of Greek workers against the austerity policies imposed upon them.
Monday, 28 July 2014
Friday, 25 July 2014
Unpaid internships in businesses are considered by many to be unfair. However, what if this unpaid work, takes place in a non-profit organisation purporting to fight poverty and human rights abuses? As an intern for such a charity, Vera Weghmann campaigned for workers’ rights, especially union recognition and fair pay, while she was expected to work for free! Despite her great admiration for this charity she and her fellow interns decided to campaign against this injustice. After six months they had successfully managed to stop the charity’s use of unpaid internships. In this guest post, Vera Weghmann tells her story:
Monday, 21 July 2014
With the 2015 general elections on the horizon, there is again a sense of optimism amongst left, progressive forces in the UK in view of a possible victory by the Labour Party next year. After years of one austerity budget after another, brutal cuts to public spending, job losses across the economy and intensified privatisation of the public sector, removing the current ConDem government has become ever more urgent. Nevertheless, what can we actually expect from a Labour government? In this blog post, I will critically reflect on this issue discussing two recent events, Len McCluskey’s, the general secretary of the large trade union Unite, almost unconditional support for Labour in the elections (BBC, 30 June 2014) and the Labour Party’s unwillingness to endorse and support the strike by public sector workers on 10 July 2014 (OTS News, 9 July 2014; Labour List, 8 July 2014).
Thursday, 10 July 2014
David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, was defeated in Brussels over his attempt to block the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as the next President of the European Commission, and yet celebrated at home in the UK for making a stand against the appointment of a federalist at the helm of the Commission (BBC, 30 June 2014). In this blog post, I will argue that these discussions between federalists, striving towards a more strongly integrated Europe, and nationalists, attempting to protect national sovereignty, are fruitless and misguided in view of the EU’s current economic and social problems. They privilege the form of integration over its contents, thereby blocking more substantial questions of how the European political economy should be organised.
Friday, 20 June 2014
Last week the Italian Water Movements Forum (Forum) celebrated the anniversary of the victory in the 2011 referenda against water privatisation by giving great emphasis to news coming from Chile: the halt by the Chilean government to the Hydro Aysen hydropower project. The project consists of five big dams to be built along two rivers in the Patagonia region by an international consortium led by the Italian government owned company Enel. This emphasis on foreign policy issues does not arise from the fact that in contemporary Italy there has been nothing to celebrate after and beyond the 2011 referendum. On the contrary “la lotta continua” and is still very active both at national and local level, with the struggle for “water as human right and commons” becoming a paradigmatic battle for democracy and against the commodification of human life, inspiring also other social mobilisations around the commons. In this guest post, Emanuele Fantini discusses the struggles of the Italian water movement with a particular emphasis on the role played by Catholic groups.
Thursday, 5 June 2014
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
In this guest post, written on request, Jan Willem Goudriaan, Deputy General Secretary of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), updates the experience with the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) on the Human Right to Water. Based on a discussion of the struggles over water privatisation in Thessaloniki/Greece, he assesses how the ECI has been linked with local struggles and demands for an alternative Europe (for the earlier post see European Citizens’ Initiative on Water and the alternative to Austerity Europe).