As a member of the trade-union movement, you support a social struggle that has achieved a great deal over the years: the abolition of child labour, employment contracts with job security, pensions, holiday pay, the eight-hour day, the five-day week, health insurance, support for jobseekers, child benefit, end-of-year bonus, and so on.
In addition, as a trade union, the ACOD (CGSP) defends strong public services. This puts you in the middle of the power struggle of the general interest versus the profit-seeking of private interests.
A lot of research, including studies by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), emphasizes the great importance of public-sector trade unions. The fight for better working conditions in the public sectors, for example, also leads to better working conditions in the private sectors. Better-paid and better-trained employees ensure greater social stability, more productivity and greater job satisfaction.
Although trade unions usually only appear in the media during demonstrations and strikes, we work on a daily basis to mediate and prevent social conflicts. Less stress and less illness increases the social quality of life. Anyone who works in a public service wants to contribute to a society that provides services democratically for everyone: libraries, schools, trains, buses and trams, hospitals, roads, cultural centres, social services, post offices, fire brigades, the police, justice, and so on.
In short, public services are an important indicator of a country’s democratic character. In other words, neo-liberal attacks on public services constitute attacks on our democracy itself.
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