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Date Thurs 22 Mar 2007

UNISON in many initiatives to fight water privatisation

UNISON, Scotland's largest water union is using World Water Day (Thursday 22 march) to draw attention to the threat of water privatisation at home and abroad.

The union will be supporting the launch, by the STUC and the water industry unions, of a discussion paper, It's Scotland's Water, that outlines options for the development of Scotland's public water and sewerage services.

It places the anti-privatisation campaign in Scotland into its international context and sets out the impact privatisation would have on one of Scotland's most important assets - its water supply. It also attacks privatisation's Trojan horse - mutualisation.

The paper explains why in a capital intensive industry the mutual option would simply lead to the handing over of Scotland's water to international financial institutions and exporting Scottish jobs to private companies outwith the country.

The paper also sets out options for turning Scottish Water away from a market model towards a more democratic public service, using international examples to show how this could deliver a more efficient and accountable service.

UNISON Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said: "World Water Day is an opportunity to express our solidarity with those in the developing world facing a water crisis exacerbated by the activities of the water privatisation lobby. And recognising the threat nearer home to a vital public service and to one of Scotland's greatest assets".

UNISON is also supporting other activities today.

* A showing of the film Drowned Out at the Edinburgh Filmhouse followed by a debate on water organised by the World Development Movement. Dave Watson will set out UNISON's position.

* Supporting an advert in the European Voice newspaper (http://www.worldwaterday.eu/) calling on the EU Commission to introduce 'smart aid' policies. In relation to water and sanitation, this should mean that the EU:

  • Stops using aid money to facilitate private sector involvement. o Drops requests for market access within trade talks.
  • Greatly increases aid and public investment in the sector.
  • Supports the development of strong public utilities in the Global South through 'public-public partnerships' that enable the exchange of expertise between public providers, working hand-in-hand with local communities

* Circulation of a leaflet Mutualisation is Privatisation.


For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 0845 355 0845 (w) 07958 122 409 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)