News (14)

A damning report should spell the end of England’s privatised water industry

The chief executive of the public regulator of private water companies in England and Wales (Ofwat) says the companies “have ‘created the perfect conditions for renationalization” as a result of their own actions. Writing in The Canary, James Aitchison says a damning report should spell the end of England's privatized water industry. “The report, by the University of Greenwich Public Services International Research Unit, compared the privatised English water industry with the public Scottish industry. It provides compelling proof that the privatized water industry in England is inefficient, unnecessarily overpriced, and benefits shareholders at the expense of consumers.” [The Privatised Water Industry in the UK: An ATM for Investors, by Karol Yearwood, September 2018]

Let’s take back what’s ours!

In the wake of a £120 million fine levied against Thames Water by Britain’s regulatory authority for failing to stop leaks, critics are calling for the water system to be brought back into municipal operation. “But if the minister thinks a slap on the wrist will be enough to make Thames Water mend its ways—or even its pipes—he hasn’t been doing his homework. A firm with monopoly control of the supply of water to the capital, which registered operating profits of over £600m last year and which has paid out billions in dividends to private shareholders even while more than doubling its long-term debt (which was over £10 billion in 2016) will hardly feel the pinch at being fined a few million. (…) Thames’s owners—a faceless coterie of Canadian pension funds, the Abu Dhabi and Kuwait investment funds, BT and the China Investment Corporation—can sleep sound in the knowledge that the privatized water supply in England and Wales will keep the payouts flowing. (…) Water belongs to us all and its supply is a natural monopoly. Let’s take back what’s ours.”

Source: Morning Star

The inspiration from the success of the remunicipalization movement in Germany

Steve Rushton of Equal Times writes that “the momentum to democratize UK public services is growing,” and it has taken inspiration from the success of the remunicipalization movement in Germany. “A key pillar of the Community Wealth Building plan is the facilitation of municipal energy companies, which connects to a wider global shift away from privatized provision,” Rushton reports. “Germany is leading the global charge in remunicipalization. Last year, the Transnational Institute detailed 835 cases of public services such as waste management, water and transport either returning from various forms of privatization (outsourcing of services, public-private partnerships, etc.) back into public hands, or cities and regions creating new local public services. Some 347 of these examples took

Source: Equal Times

Jakarta should just return water management to the public

The Jakarta Post says that “instead of confusing the public with legal technicalities of contract restructuring, Jakarta should just return water management to the public. Like Paris, it should form a Water Observatory, a space where citizens can ensure that the water company is publicly held accountable.” The media outlet was responding to a demonstration by Jakarta residents on World Water Day demanding “that water management be returned to the public, as part of a global trend called ‘remunicipalisation.’”

Source: The Jakarta Post

Twenty young African trade unions leaders gathered to discuss remunicipalisation

Twenty young African trade unions leaders gathered in Abuja recently to discuss remunicipalization, PSI reports. “This meeting was the opportunity to discuss collectively the many reasons why it is key to defend the public ownership of essential municipal services, how to ensure fair public procurement processes and why it is in everyone’s interest to reclaim them for the public whenever they are contracted out to the private sector. Profit-oriented service procurement is not compatible with the general interest and the young trade union leaders uncovered many reasons why essential service privatization does not work for people.”

Source: PSI

Barcelona reorganises public services in the people's interest

Barcelona and Madrid are reorganizing public services by building upon a strong remunicipalization movement. David Hall of PSIRU offers a summary of the December conference. “A number of common features emerged during the day’s discussion. The first was that the new groups are approaching the question of remunicipalization systematically, based on explicit criteria. Secondly, public service workers are at the centre of the new policies—even though the parties and groups have no formal connection to the established trade unions. Thirdly, the process is being conducted with a high level of professionalism—legal, financial, and technical. (…) The direct employment of public service workers is inevitably central, for a number of reasons. The central reason for remunicipalization is to re-establish the capacity of a city council to carry out those services, which requires direct employment of the workers with the necessary professional and practical skills. This enables the city council to work with a group of people dedicated to public services, and so manage, develop, and change these services in the public interest. Ending the privatized contracts means that those employed by private companies need to be transferred to employment by the municipality.” See also the detailed presentation on “Strategic Approaches to Remunicipalization in Barcelona.”

Source: Transnational Institute

EPSU warmly welcomes remunicipalisation of Mafra Water Services

EPSU welcomes the decision of Mafra’s local authorities to remunicipalise its water services. The local authority was the first Portuguese municipality to privatize its water services, 22 years ago, making this policy reversal a real milestone. The municipality has terminated its agreement with Be Water after the private operator attempted to increase tariffs by 30 per cent, which the local authorities found unacceptable.

Source: www.epsu.org

Positive tendencies regarding privatization policies in Norway

Norwegian trade unions, currently in the middle of national collective agreement negotiations, are waging a successful battle against the privatization of public services. “Interestingly, we have seen some positive tendencies regarding privatization policies in Norway over the last couple of years, particularly at municipal level. At the local elections in September last year, centre-left majorities took over many of the biggest cities, and some of these new majorities have started to re-municipalize some of the services which had previously been privatized or tendered out to private companies. This is the case for some of the nursing homes for elderly, for cleaning of public buildings and for the use of temporary workers’ agencies. A coalition of trade unions and other organizations in our Campaign for the Welfare State has been instrumental in developing this policy, in a national campaign against ‘welfare profiteers,’ as we call them.”

Source: peopleoverprof.it

Remunicipalisation Conference 2016

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) is pushing local authorities across Britain to outsource waste services, launching a glossy 26-page report. The report comes in the wake of ESA’s January “Remunicipalisation Conference.” However, Susanne Halmer and Barbara Hauenschild noted in their extensive study of remunicipalization—including of waste services—that regarding privatization, “all of Europe is experiencing a change of direction. The resentment of people throughout Europe because of the approach of private providers has hugely increased. The public sector is taking over formerly public, over the course of time privatized tasks with increasing frequency. Remunicipalisation is always carried out as a consequence of disappointing privatizations and liberalization.”

Source: letsrecycle.com

The global experience with remunicipalisation

TNI, PSIRU, Multinational Observatory, MSP and EPSU have launched a new book on the emerging remunicipalisation trend and the questions it poses about the future of water privatisation. PSI Deputy General Secretary David Boys says, “This new report confirms the acceleration of remunicipalisation in the past five years. We ask the World Bank and other development actors to integrate these findings into their policies and programmes and to immediately stop imposing failed privatisation around the world.”

Source: www.world-psi.org

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