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The largest unions in Europe, Unison of the UK and Ver.di of Germany, meet today to discuss joint strategies using ...
The largest unions in Europe, Unison of the UK and Ver.di of Germany, meet today to discuss joint strategies using their combined membership to promote public services across Europe. Unison and Ver.di have already been working closely in the fight against the liberalising EU services directive - which is now going to be comprehensively redrafted.

Dave Prentis, Unison general secretary, and Margret Monig-Raane, deputy president of Ver.di, will host the seminar in London to re-affirm why public services still matter in the 21st century. The seminar is based on a discussion document 'The Future of Public Services in Europe' commissioned by the unions, with the values that drive public services top of the agenda.

Unison and Ver.di will work together on European works councils and at the ETUC and EPSU (European Public Service Union) to influence the European parliament and commission. And together, Unison and Ver.di will be developing joint strategies for the workplace.

Mr Prentis said:

'The values that drive public services throughout Europe should never be forgotten. The funding and provision of services varies across Europe, but we all aspire to the same basic common values. The delivery of public services must be based on equality and fairness, not reduced to matters of cost and efficiency.

'Increasingly, we find public services across Europe under attack from efficiency savings, cost savings and the unleashing of market forces, often promoted by the EU. But we know, that the real efficiencies and improvements to public services come from investing in and involving the workforce. That constant, crude cost cutting only leads to inferior services.

'This seminar offers us an opportunity to put forward our joint vision for the future of public services. A future in which public services are extended and improved. A future where their values are recognised and their benefits fully appreciated.'

Frank Bsirske, president of Ver.di, said:

'Public services are essential for a socially just society. The European Union must protect these services by the means of a framework directive. Competition and the market are not capable of guaranteeing equal access to public services for all citizens.

'Local authorities know best what the needs are. They must be given the legal and financial means to be able to deliver them.'


Unison is the UK's largest union with 1.3 million members.

Ver.di is Europe's largest union with over 2.5 million members.

Unison and Ver.di signed a 'Memorandum of Understanding' in 2004 for joint working and hosted a seminar at the European Social Forum.

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