Important PSI participation at TUED South Regional Policy Meeting

From 7-9 May, TUED South held its Regional Policy Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean on energy transition. More than 100 participants from 20 trade unions met in Bogota, Colombia, to build collective strategies to advance a Public Pathway to Just Transition instead of the failing "privatise to decarbonise" policies promoted by rich countries and multinational corporations.  

The Bogota meeting took place at a time when progressive governments and trade unions are creating means to work together to overcome the challenges of a just energy transition in the region. More than 100 participants from 20 countries including representatives from 12 unions affiliated to Public Services International (PSI) took part in the event. PSI’s Colombian affiliates, SUNET, ORGANISA, SINTRAMBIENTE, SINEDIAN and USE participated; STEEP and SUTREL from Peru; Luz y Fuerza from Bolovia, APSEE-CGT and APJAE from Argentina; Paraguayan affiliate, SIEIBI; SITIESPA from Panama and from Ecuador, the fraternal union CETEEC. This large and representative delegation guaranteed that PSI's perspective on centrality of the role of the public sector in the decarbonisation process was included in all of the debates. 

Sandra Massiah, PSI sub-regional secretary for the Caribbean, in her participation at the conference, urged trade unions to reclaim their role in public policy. "The call for public ownership of energy systems is gaining momentum. For example, private utilities in Barbados benefit from public subsidies while still requesting a raise in tariffs and providing reduced reliability", said Massiah. 

PSI's sub-regional secretary for the Andean region, Susana Barria, highlighted the importance of a regional debate on energy transition and the need to recover public services in a political context that presents many opportunities for progressive governments, but also the many challenges in countries where there is a clear and very worrying setback with the deepening of privatisation and neoliberal policies, which not only hand over public services into the hands of corporations, but also privatise decarbonisation policies.  

Euan Gibb, PSI’s Multinationals Organiser, stated that the meeting was “essential to consolidate and advance several simultaneous local and national debates that are taking place throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. Bringing together key leaders in one room is essential to create a collective space for reflection. The information shared and discussions allow us to identify patterns of lack of just transition planning and policies, threats of privatisation, and opportunities to intervene more decisively and collectively in the region”. 

TUED South regional meetings are organized to identify priorities, coordinate unions, exchange trend analysis and discuss next steps for the TUED South platform. The next global meeting will take place in Buenos Aires in mid-November 2024. PSI and its affiliates reinforce their commitment to continue building and contributing to this space and will be present at the meeting in Argentina. 

Study “Brookfield's ISAGEN: a case study on the need for change in the global tax system” 

During the event, PSI, the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research (CICTAR), and the Colombian trade unions SINTRAISAGEN, ORGANISA, SINTRAE, and SINEDIAN, launched a study that exposes the profit hiding tax practices of  the energy generation company ISAGEN that was privatized and sold to a subsidiary of Canadian investment management company, Brookfield in 2016.  

Brookfield's ISAGEN: a case study on the need for change in the global tax system

The sale of a majority stake in the electricity company ISAGEN in 2016 to a subsidiary of Canadian investor Brookfield was the second largest privatisation deal in Colombian recent history. Since then, ISAGEN has reduced investment and increased profits, and appears to use debt repayments to distribute income to Brookfield subsidiaries in Bermuda, resulting in low tax payments in Colombia, and low investment in the company's workforce. Tax transparency is needed to know with certainty what is happening to these resources that, up until recently, were considered a public good.