These workers build the social fabric of our urban and local communities. They are the cornerstones of social inclusion and thriving local economic development.
Municipal, local and regional government workers deliver your vital public services including water, sanitation, electricity, and waste collection. They run your public transport and maintain public spaces. They deliver social, cultural and educational services such as municipal libraries and kindergartens. They operate territorial public administrations and regulatory agencies. They are your community health, social and housing service workers and municipal police. In many countries they are firefighters, emergency workers and medical first responders.
Municipal, local and regional government workers represent the bulk of the world's public service employment.
Yet, public service users and politicians often know very little about these workers and the critical role they play in communities' social cohesion and local economic development.
A 2016 joint study from the OECD and UCLG counted over 500,000 local and regional governments around the world. However, only partial employment data exist for their workers, covering only 49 countries, representing a quarter of the world’s labour force.
Only central governments are acknowledged in global policy making. Local governments have little say in global tax, investment and trade deals, even though these often have a direct impact on their cities, communities and finances.
Less than 10% of total global government expenditure goes to municipal finance. Only a well-trained workforce with adequate resources and rights at work can deliver the local quality public services everyone needs.
Local Government workers deserve a voice in national and global policies.
Precarious employment, poverty wages, outsourcing and privatization, lack of training and safety equipment and attacks on trade union rights are daily realities for municipal, local and regional workers in many countries. These workers often face violence and discrimination, lack professional training and job-related equipment, work long hours and have few career development opportunities.
Remunicipalisation: a growing trend
The failures of privatisation are leading municipalities and governments around the world to bring services back into public control.
Urban expansion can create wealth and inclusion, but it can also create poverty and social unrest. Quality urban and local public services are what make cities vibrant hubs of opportunities and engines of inclusive socio-economic development.
Government investment in public services is one of the most powerful policy tools to fight income inequality: it is estimated that free access to public services in OECD countries reduces it by 20 percent.
Whether urban expansion creates wealth and inclusion, or poverty, marginalization and social unrest depends on the quality and accessibility of those services in our cities and local communities.
Pasquele Bandini Waste Services Professional
“In the morning, the streets are silent, calm, beautiful - we make them clean”
While tourists and residents are still asleep, Pasquale and Emmauele are already hitting the streets to help keep Siena one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Guardians of the city | One Day Series
When budgets or services are cut, many continue to deliver public services to their communities out of personal commitment, confronting extremely hard conditions and hostile environments.
The widespread lack of respect for trade union rights leaves them vulnerable to the whims of local politicians, who often lack experience in industrial relations and hardly see themselves as employers.
Women workers make up the vast majority of workers in the municipal, local and regional government sector. Yet, they are often employed in the low pay tier and face more precarious conditions.
When local public services are missing, underfunded, privatized or outsourced everybody pays the price.
We promote sustainable and inclusive local and regional services for all
We support our members to deliver accessible, quality public services to the communities they serve and successfully confront the many challenges posed by rapid urbanization and globalization.
We organise local and regional workers
We support our affiliates in organizing workers in these sectors and by defending the right to organize and bargain collectively with local authorities.
We influence global policy
We work with the UN system and social partners such as United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG); and with allied organizations to promote and advance the rights and conditions of these workers.
We fight public service privatisation
We help build campaigns against privatization, outsourcing and cuts to local services and instead promote decent working conditions.
Are you a municipal, local or regional government worker and want to get involved in PSI?
Get in touch with your closest PSI affiliate in your country - check out our affiliate database.
Want to keep up to date with emerging trends in the sector around the world?
Check out PSI's 2016 publication "Overview of Global Megatrends affecting Local and Regional Governments"
Want to launch your own campaign?
Use our campaign builder - People Over Profit.
Do you want to learn about how cities and communities are bringing public services back in-house?
Check out TNI-EPSU-PSI's 2017 publication "Reclaiming Public Services"
Tell us your workers story or tip us off about a remunicipalisation or anti-privatisation campaign happening in your local community.