Prospects for Trade Union Revitalization in the Public Sector: Bolivia and Peru

The privatization of public water utilities has been one of the most controversial aspects of neoliberal restructuring in the late 20th century. Powerful social movements that aim to protect water from corporate control have emerged across the planet, particularly in the global South. Since water privatization affects people from all walks of life many protests have been organized by broad-scale social movement coalitions which have included labour, environmental, consumer, social justice and indigenous groups.

Huancayo, Peru PUP Technical Cooperation

The purpose of Agreement is to establish reciprocal technical collaboration and assistance between “ABSA” and “SEDAM Hyo.” In relation to the water and sewerage services that they provide. “ABSA” and “SEDAM Hyo.” promise to maintain a system of cooperation allowing the coordination of work effected in the interests of both organisations. This collaboration will be effected on a basis of equality and mutual benefit by making the best use of their levels of action, in accordance with the possibilities and experience of both organisations.

PUP in Huancayo, Peru

After the plans for privatisation in Huancayo were shelved, efforts to develop progressive public water reforms instead intensified. An agreement was first reached between the trade unions SUTAPAH and SOSBA, followed by an agreement between the utilities SEDAM and ABSA. The final step was to ensure agreement on the level of the provincial governments of Huancayo and Buenos Aires. This third level is crucial to ensure that everyone involved assists with implementing the agreement. Getting the workers involved in the management of a public utility helps to ensure permanent planning and care. Participation by the users and civil society helps guarantee an appropriate administration. Luis Mario Padron is Technical Assistant Manager at '5 de Septiembre S.A', the drinking and wastewater operator of the Buenos Aires province, Argentina. '5 de Septiembre S.A.' is the workers-run company operating the provincial utility Aguas Bonaerenses S.A. (ABSA), established by the union of water workers of Buenos Aires, SOSBA.

Huancayo (Peru): From Resistance to PUPs

The Andean city of Huancayo has shown that a strong local movement of citizens and workers can expand the struggle against privatisation into reclaiming public water services. In Huancayo, water movements have developed an innovative public-public partnership (PUP) as an alternative to privatisation. The social movement organisation FREDEAJUN (Frente de Defensa del Agua de la Region Junín) successfully resisted privatisation and, in a participatory bottom-up process, developed an alternative proposal to reform the public utility SEDAM Huancayo S. A. FREDEAJUN and one of its members, the local sector trade union SUTAPAH (Sindicato Único de Trabajadores de Agua Potable de Huancayo) also successfully established a public-public-partnership between SEDAM and ABSA (Aguas Bonaerenses S.A), a union-owned and run public water operator in the state of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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