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Date: 22 March 2006

Trade union makes international links to fight water privatisation

UNISON, Scotland's main water union will be joining trade unions across Europe and worldwide in the campaign against the privatisation of water services on World Water Day (Wednesday 22 March).

UNISON Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said: "Across the world there is a major fightback against the privatisation of probably the most vital of public services ­ water and wastewater. The exemption of water from new GATS requests shows that the global campaign against the EU's push for the privatisation of water services is starting to have an impact. But the battle is not yet won. In Scotland we are demonstrating our support by resisting calls for the privatisation of Scotland's water."

UNISON Scotland is using World Water Day to highlight specific Scottish concerns over water privatisation including:

* Regulatory and political pressure to privatise Scotland¹s public water and wastewater services.

* The backdoor privatisation of Scotland¹s water through expensive PPP schemes.

* The inclusion of water in the Services Directive promoting Europe wide privatisation.

* Whilst welcoming the exclusion of 'water for human use' from the latest EU GATS offer ­ wastewater services remains on the negotiating table.

* The misuse of development aid in promoting private water companies. The key European trade union demands are:

* Recognise safe and reliable drinking water and waste water services as a human right.

* No liberalisation of water services. Demonstrate our concerns regarding the EU Commission plans to promote competition in water services.

* Stop promoting the private sector (through PPPs) in developing countries. Priority should be given to the public sector (95% of water services worldwide are publicly provided).

* Water and other public services should remain outside of the scope of the Services/ Bolkestein Directive.

* The EU Commission should withdraw its request to developing countries to open wastewater services as part of the negotiations on GATS.

ENDS

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)

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