Union water campaign’s first victory
Union campaigning works. Just over a fortnight ago, we urged you to join the Right2Water campaign run by the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), with the backing of UK water unions. The Right2Water European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) petition aims to promote the human right to access to water and sanitation, in particular through public provision. It is a tool to change the mind-set in the European Commission from a market-based approach with the focus on competition to a rights-based approach with the focus on public service.
Now the EU Commissioner for Services and the Internal Market, Michel Barnier, has responded to the hundreds of thousands of people who have signed the petition so far, announcing that water services will be excluded from what is known as the Concessions Directive, covering public procurement. He said:
“The decision on how to run a public service [like water] is in Member States’ hands, and their local authorities. And it will remain that way.”
The Right2Water campaign will continue collecting signatures until September, aiming for 2 million across Europe and 55,000 in the UK, where water is already privatised. But the campaign has already won its first victory. Commissioner Barnier said:
“It is our duty to take into account the concerns expressed by so many citizens. …I hope this will reassure citizens that the commission listens.”
ACT NOW: add your signature to the union-backed ECI petition. Then get your friends, family and work mates to do the same. If they can’t sign up on line, print off a petition and return it to Matthew Lay, UNISON, 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY.