Since its inception in 1978, EPSU has been at the forefront of promoting and protecting the interests of public service workers in Europe. The organization has played a crucial role in shaping European Union policies on public services, employment rights, health and safety, and social protection.
EPSU has achieved several successes over the years. One of its most significant achievements was the establishment of formal social dialogue committees for all major EPSU sectors. It has also pushed for the creation of a Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Social Services. EPSU’s campaigns have been extremely successful, leading to change across Europe. One of its campaigns, Right2water, was the first successful European Citizens Initiative, resulting in the adoption of the Drinking Water Directive by the European Parliament in 2020. Another campaign, Unhappy Meal, led to a record €1.1 billion fine on McDonald’s by France in 2022.
Social dialogue is at the core of EPSU’s work, and it is committed to defending it at all levels, including the workplace and the EU level. The organization’s commitment to gender parity and youth networks has driven its structures. As EPSU celebrates its 45th anniversary, it is important to reflect on the struggles and work that have brought the organization to where it is today. EPSU’s commitment to social justice, equal rights, democracy, and human rights has never been more critical, given the ongoing challenges of public service liberalization, climate change, and digitalization.
To celebrate its anniversary, EPSU is sharing stories and memories from its 45-year history on social media. EPSU’s reflections include significant events such as campaigns and Euro-demonstrations, as well as everyday work, such as social dialogue meetings and Executive Committees. The organization invites the public to reminisce with them by following the hashtag #EPSUat45 and sharing their own memories.
EPSU’s history can also be found in its book, Building the European Federation of Public Service Unions: The History of EPSU 1978-2016, available at here.