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PSI to protest against absence of trade union rights in UN system 


Rosa Pavanelli

Begins 30th congress in Geneva today

The Public Service International (PSI) will tomorrow protest against lack of trade union rights within the United Nations’ systems across the world in Geneva, Switzerland tomorrow.

The protest, which will take place at the United Nations’ ‘Place des Nations’ in Geneva, will be attended by over 1,200 of the world’s top union leaders from 133 countries.

The protest tagged: Unacceptable: Respect The Labour Rights Of Your Workers!, is taking place on the sideline of the World Congress of the PSI – the global trade union federation of public sector unions – which occurs once every five years and will take place from today, Tuesday, October 31, to Friday, November 3, 2017 at Geneva International Conference Centre (GICC).


Speaking on the planned protest, the General Secretary of PSI, Rosa Pavanelli, said: “When the United Nations, the birthplace of Human Rights, refuses to recognise collective bargaining and employs over 40 per cent of its workers through precarious short-term contracts or unpaid internships, then how can we convince employers in the wider market not to do the same?”

Alongside Pavanelli, who will speak at the rally, Catherine Comte-Tiberghien of the Intenational Labour Organisation (ILO) staff union, Jamshid Gaziyev of the UN Staff unions, Bibi Sherifa Khan of the UN NYC staff union and a representative from the UN Interns-Fair Internship Initiative are all slated to speak at the event.

ILO and UN Staff unions are affiliated to PSI. The NYC UN Staff Union is affiliated to PSI affiliate, American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

The global trade union movement its Programme of Action (PoA), which will be executed between 2018 and 2022 tagged, ‘People over Profit’ provides political guidance for PSI over the period between Congresses.

The first section of the PoA, which is the introduction, outlines the international threats and opportunities that PSI and its members face.

It also outlines the threats of corporate power, rising inequality, increased racism and xenophobia and the unique place that public service workers and unions occupy in the current global turmoil. It argues that PSI must be bold in its vision and must be prepared to lead.

Section two outlines the building the power to create the world the global community wants to see stressing the need to build power to create change.

It identifies organising workers, growing PSI unions and projecting its power as crucial to her success. It outlines how PSI’s power relies critically on the size, unity and activity of its affiliate.

The section also argued for internal democracy and workers’ participation, ensuring that all workers are brought into the union movement and for building broad alliances with users of public services, private sector unions and other allies.

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