NUPGE Alberta VP promotes ATN campaign at PSI World Congress

"The best way for any nation to combat income inequalty is to ensure its common wealth is used for its common good." - Elisabeth Ballermann, NUPGE Alberta VP and HSAA President.

Durban, South Africa – (28 Nov. 2012) – Elisabeth Ballermann, National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) Alberta Vice-President and President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE) led off the debate on a key NUPGE resolution to the Public Services International (PSI) 29th World Congress in Durban, South Africa. The resolution calls upon PSI to adopt a policy framework similar to the one that guides NUPGE's All Together Now! (ATN) campaign.

Some 1,200 union leaders representing 20 million public service workers are meeting this week at the PSI’s World Congress in Durban, South Africa. Guided by the Congress' theme, In the people’s interest, PSI members are contributing to a plan of action that advances quality public services and trade union rights for the common good. NUPGE is a Canadian affiliate of the PSI.

In speaking to the NUPGE resolution, Ballermann noted that "growing income inequality is the greatest challenge facing many countries around the world." She added, "The best way for any nation to combat income inequalty is to ensure its common wealth is used for its common good."

Ballermann urged the PSI delegates to adopt a Common Wealth – Common Good framework that is focused on four broad concepts:

  • quality public services that meet the needs of all citizens and enhance values of equality and inclusion;
  • tax fairness based on a progressive approach to wealth distribution;
  • industrial strategies which encourage mixed economies based on sustainable economic growth, green technology, fair wealth distribution and social justice; and
  • recognition that labour rights are human rights and is a critical instrument to achieve higher levels of economic equality and social rights for all citizens.

Shortly after Ballermann spoke, the resolution was overwhelmingly adopted by PSI Congress delegates.

Discussions at the global union federation’s congress have focused on advancing different approaches to social justice and economic challenges that are based on the needs of the many, not the demands of the elite few who already have so much.

Fair taxes are key to the equitable redistribution of wealth. PSI and affiliate members are working with civil society allies in growing global campaigns to close tax havens and implement financial transaction taxes. For example, a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ could help fund good sustainable jobs, tackle poverty and inequality, make public services accessible to all, and strengthen the global fight against climate change.

Delegates also elected a new PSI General Secretary at this Congress, Italian trade unionist Rosa Pavanelli who vowed to expand PSI's role as a global champion for quality public services.

“Now it is time to work in organizing and fighting to defend public services and the rights of our members, and the right of all citizens to a fairer and more sustainable society. Together we can succeed,” she says.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE