Education International
Education International

Public Service Day celebrated as momentum to oppose trade deals grows

published 22 June 2016 updated 6 July 2016

As unions and civil society take a moment to mark Public Services Day the the on-going global campaign against international trade agreements that undermine the provision of public services everywhere continues to gain traction.

The UN-designated Public Service Day on 23 June celebrates the significant value and virtues of public services and encourages young people to envisage a career in the third sector. It serves as a reminder that universal access to essential public services promotes equality and is inextricably linked to the respect of human rights.

But 13 years after its establishment through a UN resolution, the reasons to celebrate might be few and far between for trade unions who have been involved in numerous campaigns to halt the growing tendency towards the liberalisation of public services. With international trade agreements such as TiSA, TTIP and CETA inching closer to becoming reality, Education International (EI) and its partner Global Union Federations are warning against the erosion in the provision of public services that these agreements might entail.

In a school year that has been marked by the adoption of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals, the value and irreplaceable role that public services play in their achievement has been one of EI’s major messages to global and national policymakers. Numerous member organisations have participated in actions that have demanded an explicit carve-out of education from international trade agreements, as well as more transparency in the negotiation processes and the respect for social dialogue.