Public Services International Executive Board-154
Meeting 21-22 November, Geneva
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
The PSI Executive Board (EB-154) met on 21-22 November 2019. It heard reports of the three successful regional conferences and the EPSU Congress held this year, welcomed the new regional executive committee members elected at those conferences, endorsed the nominations of the Vice-Presidents from the regions and welcomed 13 new affiliates.
The Board expressed concern about the rise of repressive governments in some countries and passed a statement in support of social uprisings across the globe. It expressed support for the ongoing uprisings in Chile, Hong Kong, Sudan, Lebanon and others, and noted the success of the Algerian people in ousting President Bouteflika. It urged unions across the globe to support the movements for democracy and against corporate greed, and to highlight the role of quality public services and the labour movement in this critical struggle.
The Board heard experts in the field of digitalisation and artificial intelligence explain the effects of digitalisation on public services, workers, democracy and the economy, and endorsed planned work on digitalisation in 2020. It noted the PSI report Digitalisation and Public Services: A Labour Perspective that provides information for affiliates to support their members and concludes that collective bargaining is essential to ensure workers maintain control over the introduction of digital technology in the workplace.
It noted the new resource for PSI affiliates UBI: A Union Perspective that provides a union analysis of UBI to assist affiliates challenging the idea that digitalisation necessarily destroys jobs, and also those affiliates who want to critically engage in the UBI debate to promote Universal Quality Public Services. It also heard how control over data and digital intelligence - currently in the hands of digital corporations – is a precondition for a fair economy, quality public services and democratic governance. EB discussed how workers and government must assert collective ownership rights over data to ensure digital intelligence is used as a public good and not simply to produce corporate profit.
The Board heard from experts on the climate crisis who outlined the changes needed to the global and national governance systems if we are to collectively resolve this existential crisis. It heard from affiliates about the effects on public sector workers and the devastating consequences for small and developing countries. It noted the preparations for the COP25, the PSI toolkit for affiliates and the update on PSI climate policy. It urged all unions to take a leading role in the fight against climate change.
The Board heard about the risks to public services and workers posed by the rentier economy and rising sovereign debt. It noted PSI’s work with the United Nations Committee on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to produce a five-part brief series on why sovereign debt matters to workers.
The Board discussed the implementation of Congress Resolution #50: For an Independent Palestinian State that Provides Quality Public Services to its Citizens and approved a mission to Palestine and Israel in 2020. It passed a statement noting the death of civilians in the Gaza strip caused by Israeli bombings including women, children and elderly. It condemned the targeting of civilians and reiterated its support for the respect of international law, a two-state solution and the end to the blockade imposed on the Palestinians in Gaza. It expressed its support for the medical and emergency workers who continue to risk their lives to provide health care to those injured in the conflict and demanded that they be protected whilst doing their jobs.
EB-154 decided to maintain the location of PSI Head Office in Ferney Voltaire, France, adopted a policy on the engagement of the General Secretary and directed secretariat to draft revisions to PSI Constitution and other rules to ensure good governance. It noted the smooth operation of the regional elections under the new Constitution and passed terms of reference for the review of the Constitution in advance of the 2022 Congress.
EB-154 endorsed a programme of work for 2020 and noted the draft revisions to the projects policy for consultation with affiliates in the regions. It noted the deficit for the 2019 budget, endorsed a budget for 2020 and requested secretariat to implement savings from 2020 to ensure that PSI balances its budget.
The meeting fare-welled longstanding EB member Candice Owley, AFT, USA, and thanked her for her hard work and commitment. It welcomed Mette Nord, Fagforbundet, Norway, as new EPSU President.
The minutes will be made accessible to all PSI affiliates on the PSI webpage in due course.
The next meeting of the Board EB-155 will be 18-19 November 2020, and the Women’s Committee: 17 November 2020. SC-22 will meet on 15-16 April 2020.