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Reports

  • European works councils in the energy sector: 2012 - Sep 2012Steve Thomas

    This paper examines the European energy companies that have set up European Works Councils (EWCs). It is an update of earlier reports, the last of which was published in 2007. In the first part, it identifies which companies have set up EWCs and shows major changes in employment and employment issues in these companies since 2010. In the second part, the paper examines the strategic issues that will shape the companies and their employment prospects over the next few years.

  • Waste management in Europe: trends and issues - Aug 2012David Hall

    The paper presents key data on generation, treatment and recycling of household waste in Europe; issues in commercial waste, including toxic waste, incineration and insourcing of treatment by companies; trends in employment levels, productivity, strikes and disputes, and informal rag-pickers; analysis of the public-private split, and remunicipalisation trends; and relevant EU legislation and court cases.

  • A critique of proposed amendments to the Electricity Law of Vietnam - Jun 2012
    David Hall
    Steve Thomas
    Tue Anh Nguyen

    Vietnam’s power sector is dominated by Electricity Vietnam (EVN), which is the integrated state-owned monopoly that covers all elements from generation to retail. It is experiencing a number of serious issues that involve the efficiency of management of EVN, delays in upgrading the transmission/distribution system, and the inability to meet national demand without large-scale imports. The government bodies including MOIT (Ministry of Industry and Trade) and MOF (Ministry of Finance) both believe Vietnam needs to change the current sector arrangements, from price setting, to reorganization of EVN and to overall sector restructuring towards a market-driven system of supply and demand.

    In 2011, MOIT put forward proposals to revise the reform roadmap for the sector set out in Electricity Law 2004. A decision on these proposals is not expected until late 2012. The proposal is being questioned on grounds the rationality of bringing forward the introduction of a competitive retail market and on the inflationary effects of the proposed electricity price increases and the degree of efficiency improvement required of EVN.

    This paper provides a critique of the impacts of the proposal on Vietnam’s politics and economics and a global review of the electricity liberalization model that underlies such policy.

  • Impact of Global Financial Crisis & Austerity Measures on Women - Jun 2012Jane Lethbridge

    The paper looks at the impact of the global financial crisis & austerity measures on women.

  • The birth, growth and decline of multinational water companies - Jun 2012
    David Hall
    Emanuele Lobina

    Private water companies largely died out by the start of the 20th century with municipalities and governments taking over the role of investors and operators. The survival of French private companies enabled them to re-launch their business in the favourable climate of neoliberal politics, first in France in the 1980s and then globally, encouraged by international financial institutions. Widespread public resistance and inability to devise a profitable economic model for universal provision drove back these advances, and by the early 21st century the companies had largely withdrawn into engineering and service contracts. In France and elsewhere a process of re-municipalisation has already begun.

  • Business as usual - international promotion of PPPs in North Africa - May 2012David Hall

    For many years before 2011, international institutions - including the IMF, the World Bank (and its private finance arm, the IFC), the European Union, and especially the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the OECD -  encouraged privatisation and the development of PPPs under the dictatorships in north Africa. Since the uprisings in 2011 the USA, EU and IFIs  have been offerring large amounts of aid and loans which still include conditionalities and objectives of creating PPPs.

  • A Parallel Approach to Analysis of Costs/benefits and Efficiency changes resulting from Privatisation of Health Services - Apr 2012Jane Lethbridge

    The marketisation of public health care systems is part of a long process, which is not necessarily clearly set out or understood at the beginning.  Public policy plays an important role in creating internal markets and changing public health care systems.  The findings of this review show that there are now recognisable steps in the process of moving from a state/ government run health care system to a marketised and privatised system but this can take place over many years.

  • Broken Promises The impact of outsourcing on NHS services - Apr 2012Jane Lethbridge

    Advocates of outsourcing NHS services to the private sector often make sweeping claims about the benefits of privatisation on the care received by patients. This project has identified a range of studies that have examined some aspects of outsourcing in the NHS and the effect on patient care. It is noticeable that much of the evidence demonstrates either the negative aspects of introducing competition into the provision of health care services or inconclusive results. A lack of data makes it difficult to assess the impact of contracted out services on accessibility of services and health outcomes. Overall, there is a lack of evidence to show that outsourcing leads to improved quality of patient care. The experience of outsourcing cleaning services shows that there was a negative impact on patient care. Outsourcing of clinical services through ISTCs and GPs ‘out of hours’ services shows some negative effects on patient care, poor value for money as well as evidence of inadequate monitoring and evaluation of the services. Although there is some evidence of the benefits of shared services, the experience of the NHS IT project was a clear failure of outsourcing.

    The introduction of outsourcing to the NHS has identified the need for data collected to measure the quality of patient care after the contracting process. At the moment, a combination of academic research, research from regulatory agencies and trade union research provide the most effective way of gathering evidence of the impact of outsourcing into the quality of patient care. Many of these studies do not show any demonstrable benefits from outsourcing. Other academic studies have assessed the impact of competition on the NHS in a limited way, either using one service, or one health outcome. The conclusions are then applied to the whole of the NHS, as a way of justifying more competition. This research needs to be challenged because it is being used to justify continued competition and marketisation policies in the NHS.

  • FGTS: protecting workers and promoting social development in Brazil - Mar 2012Nyedja da Silva Marinho

    The Brazilian government created the Fundo de Garantia do Tempo de Serviço - FGTS (Severance Pay Fund) in 1966. The triple objective was to provide severance pay in cases of unjustified dismissal, create a savings fund for workers and use the fund to finance housing and water and sanitation programmes. Moreover, for the last 21 years, all decisions about administration of the fund and the use of its resources have been taken by a tripartite body, the Conselho Curador do FGTS - CCFGTS (FGTS Board of Trustees). The report describes the history and structure and performance of the FGTS and discusses whether it can be replicated elsewhere.   The English version can be downloaded from  www.psiru.org/sites/default/files/2012-03-FGTS-EN.doc   ; the Portuguese version can be downloaded from  www.psiru.org/sites/default/files/2012-03-FGTS-PO.doc

  • Conflicts, companies, human rights and water - A critical review of local corporate practices and global corporate initiatives - Mar 2012
    David Hall
    Emanuele Lobina

    Companies use a lot of water and their waste is a pollution risk. This brings them into conflict with many communities around the world, when companies capture scarce water resources or cause environmental damage. Corporate groups promote ideas such as shared risks, global water footprints, and water markets, which minimise the role of democratic politics. This contrasts sharply with the decision by the United Nations that access to water is a human right, and that human uses have priority. Companies are strongly averse to recognising rights which could limit their own economic interests. These conflicting ideologies reflect the material conflict over water resources, and different approaches to political processes.

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