Four Danes, two Dutchmen, eight Germans, a Hungarian, a Swede and a Swiss met from August 25 to 27, 1907, in the Stuttgart (Germany) trade union building for the First International Conference of Workers in Public Services. The International Socialist Congress had just finished in Stuttgart’s Liederhalle.

The 17 delegates represented six unions with a combined membership of some 44,500. For three days, they talked mainly about the legal status, pay and working conditions of workers in public services in their respective countries.

Since then our movement has grown into a world-wide federation, with affiliated unions in over 153 countries. However our values remain the same.

PSI's History Book

"Fighting for Public Services: Better Lives, Better World," written for PSI's centenary in 2007, tells the gripping tale of how public service workers have improved our societies around the world. From the frontlines of the fight against Nazism, to bridging the divide during the cold war; from CIA spies to Marxist revolutionaries, the story of our Union Federation is a diverse and surprising thriller! Dig into our history - and learn about how the struggles of the past inform the ongoing fight.

Names of PSI since 1907

  • 1907 International Secretariat of the Workers in Public Services

  • 1925 International Federation of Employees in Public Services

  • 1935 International Federation of Employees in Public and Civil Services

  • 1946 International Federation of Unions of Employees in Public and Civil Services

  • 1958 Public Services International (PSI)

General Secretaries

  • 1907–1920 Albin Mohs (Germany)

  • 1920–1929 Nico Van Hinte (Netherlands)

  • 1929–1933 Fritz Müntner (Germany)

  • 1933 Ludwig Maier (Austria) - as Acting Secretary

  • 1933–1935 Ernest Michaud (France)

  • 1935–1937 Ernest Michaud (France)

  • 1937–1940 Charles Laurent (France)

  • 1945–1946 Maarten Bolle (Netherlands) - as Acting Secretary and from

  • 1946–1954 as General Secretary

  • 1954–1956 Jaap Blom (Netherlands) - as part time Secretary

  • 1956–1967 Paul Tofahrn (Belgium)

  • 1967–1970 W. Barazetti (Switzerland)

  • 1970–1981 Carl Franken (Netherlands)

  • 1981–2007 Hans Engelberts (Netherlands)

  • 2007-2012 Peter Waldorff (Denmark)

  • 2012- Rosa Pavanelli (Italy)

The Beginnings - PSI History Booklet

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How did public sector workers around the world first unite? This fascinating historical research outlines the origins of PSI and shows that so many of the workers' key demands - for quality public services, fair pay for a days work and an end to inequality - remain relevant to our struggle today.


The office of President was created in 1920

  • 1920–1932 P.J. Teyan (Britain)

  • 1932–1937 Charles Dukes (Britain) - resigned 23 July 1937

  • 1937–1939 Mark Hewitson (Britain) - installed provisionally 1937, elected 1938

  • 1939–1956 Tom Williamson (Britain)

  • 1956–1964 Adolph Kummernuss (Germa ny)

  • 1964–1973 Gunnar Hallström (Sweden)

  • 1973–1985 Heinz Kluncker (Germany)

  • 1985–1989 Victor Gotbaum (USA)

  • 1989–1994 Monika Wulf-Mathies (Germany)

  • 1994–2002 William (Bill) Lucy (USA)

  • 2002–2010 Ylva Thörn (Sweden)

  • 2010-2012 Dave Prentis (Britain) - as Acting President and from

  • 2012- as President

Joining PSI

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