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Mar 23 2006
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Press communication: 22 March, 2006

European Water Workers mark World Water Day with protest against water
privatisation plans

(22 March, Brussels) EPSU today held an action to mark World Water Day in the
heart of Europe. A human chain of 1000 people was formed between the offices of
AQUAFED (the International Private Water Company Federation) and the European
Commission headquarters. "This action was to demonstrate that private water
companies continue to pressure EU decision makers to make the case for water
privatisation", said EPSU deputy General Secretary, Jan Willem Goudriaan. "This
is despite a mountain of evidence that shows that this model simply does not
work". The chain of 1000 people passed buckets of water and dollar signs to
visually illustrate the risk of water access being considered only as a
business and not as a human right. Aquafed was established 5 months ago with
the express purpose of "promoting private sector participation in water and
wastewater management" and it continues to resist demands to reveal its member

EPSU used the occasion to also launch a study on AQUAFED and its close ties to
French multinational SUEZ. The background study was prepared by Public Service
International Research Unit (PSIRU) and is called ’AQUAFED - another pressure
group for private water’.

This action was particularly well timed in light of the ongoing Services
(Bolkestein) directive debate, which still includes the water sector within its

This action was supported by:

CGSP-FGTB and CSC services publics and NGOs (11.11.11- Coalition for the Flemish
North-South Movement, Protos, Oxfam Solidarity, Attac Flanders, Belgian
Association for a World Water Contract and FOS)

Also in attendance were:

Senators Olga Zrihen and Pierre Galand and Deputies Karine Lalieux and Mohammed
Boukourna from the Belgian Parliament.

EPSU is the European Federation of Public Service Unions. It is the largest
federation of the ETUC. 8 million public service workers and their 213 trade
unions are members. They organise workers in health and social services, local
and national administration, energy, water and waste

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