World water day and the workers

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LabourPrivatisationNatural resources


Water is fundamental to all life on this planet.

It must be protected throughout its entire hydrological cycle.

It must be allocated equitably, to meet social and environmental needs.

This protection and allocation is possible only if there are strong public policies and implementation mechanisms.

The problem is, the doctrine over the past 20 to 30 years has been to replace public policy with market dynamics.

The market is clearly failing to protect people and planet.

The underlying problem is weak democracy.

We can see this at the workplace, every day, where the knowledge and expertise of the workers are disregarded in favour of financial targets and priorities that seldom serve the common good.

We see it when our rights to organise collectively to defend our rights and interests are violated.

We see it in our families and communities, when public services are eliminated, underfunded, and privatised, whether in the name of progress, modernity, or austerity.

We see it in too many countries, where the human right to water and sanitation is not secured, even though it is clearly the priority for the vast majority of citizens.

We see it in national and international governmental organisations, where the corporate lobby increasingly crowds out all other voices.

Where public subsidies are used to guarantee private profits.

Where development funds are used to open markets for corporations.

All of these trends have been operating in the water and sanitation sector.

Workers and their trade unions have built alliances with community groups to resist.

We are blocking the privateers controlling core public services such as water delivery and sanitation.

We are challenging the land grabs of giant corporations.

We are pushing back against the giant mining and extractive companies, which leave our water sources massively polluted.

And we are advocating for better public policies, including public-public partnerships between utilities and with communities, restrictions on free trade in environmental services, more appropriate financial mechanisms, etc.

All of this is possible, when the workers and the trade unions join up with community members to demand quality public services for all.

See PSI’s World Water Day 2013 statements in various languages

See the European Citizens’ Initiative