Our movement is, by its very definition, international. It is built on the solidarity between workers, across national boundaries, to build a better world.
And as globalisation makes our world smaller (with all the advantages and problems that brings) it is our duty as trade unionists to renew and strengthen our internationalism, not turn our backs on the world and become more insular.
I am proud that our union, since it’s birth, has always been outward looking, with deep international roots. Our links to public sector works across Europe through EPSU and around the world through PSI makes our union stronger and helps us fight and win our battles at home.
This week I am at PSI Congress, along with the UNISON delegation led by our President Margaret McKee. This event, which takes place only once every five years, is a vital opportunity for representatives of our union to stand with public servants from around the case and make our case, together, for better public services and a better world for all.
This year’s conference is taking place under the title of “People over profit” and I can think of no cause that better fits the aims of our union.
PSI proudly represents more than 20 million public service workers from over 150 countries, coming together to champion human rights, advocate for social justice and to defend public services. It’s something I’m passionate about personally – that’s why I stood for PSI President seven years ago, and why I was was honoured to be re-elected unanimously as President of PSI for the next five years at this week’s conference.
I have always believed that internationalism matters. I have always been an internationalist. But right now, when Brexit threatens to make Britain an inward looking tax haven on the coast of mainland Europe, I think it’s time to be more internationalist in our outlook, more collaborative with our brothers and sisters around the world and more dedicated to building a global movement for change.
Because when the old world order looks frail, when grinding poverty demeans our world and the fight for a fair share for our people can seem further away than ever, I believe that our movement – at home and globally – has the ideas, the dedication and most importantly, the people, to chart a different course.
And I am so proud that our union is at the centre of building that better tomorrow.