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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 May 15 - 21  > Japanese, UK, US, and Korean public service workers share experiences of struggles against outsourcing
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2019 May 15 - 21 [LABOR]

Japanese, UK, US, and Korean public service workers share experiences of struggles against outsourcing

May 21, 2019
The Japan Federation of Prefectural and Municipal Workers' Unions (Jichiroren) on May 19 hosted an international symposium in Tokyo on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Jichiroren's founding.

U.K., U.S., South Korean, and Japanese public-sector unionists shared their experiences of struggles against the outsourcing of public services under neoliberal economic policies.

Jichiroren President Saruhashi Hitoshi in his opening speech called on participants to learn from the movements of municipal workers and unions in their efforts to socially reveal the negative consequences caused by neoliberalism.

Mark Wood, an executive council member of Unite the Union in the U.K., pointed out that one out of five people in Britain are in a state of poverty due to austerity policies and cutbacks in public services. He said, "Seeking profits should be out of the question when providing public services. Thanks to union activities, outsourced public services have begun to be re-municipalized."

Lee Tae-sik, a public transport workers' union organizer in South Korea, talked about the struggle of municipal workers against the outsourcing of water services to the business entity. He said, "The municipal workers' union joined hands with local residents and successfully stopped the outsourcing plan. In their struggle, they informed as many residents as possible of what are and will be problems that would inevitably arrive with outsourcing so that everyone can understand the importance of the municipal-run water service."

Bryce Carter from a U.S. electrical, radio, and machine workers union reported on the situation of workplace racism, especially in southern states, and on public-sector workers' struggles to regain the right to collective bargaining.
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