SIPTU activists are focused on bringing community services back under public control as part of a global shift away from the privatisation model, the SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Biennial Delegate conference has heard. Addressing the more than 150 delegates gathered in Wexford today (Friday, 11th November), SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “The future is public. Our focus is on how we grow a direct labour model in the public service. Over the last number of years we have worked very hard to advance this project. “Unfortunately, we are faced with some senior public servants who are still wedded to the concept of outsourcing even as the rest of the world begins to de-privatise public services and bring back into public ownership public goods.” He said that this move towards collective approaches had been assisted by changing attitudes during the pandemic. He said: “The pandemic allowed the Irish state to assume powers in Ireland that in the abstract citizens would never have accepted for the common good. Policy goals such as a universal basic income in the form of the pandemic unemployment payment, a single health service with private hospitals temporarily procured by the state and nationalised childcare in the direct state subvention for childcare providers, proved possible after all.” Kane also said that the push to return services to public control was being assisted by a wider revitalisation of trade union activity.  He added: “Trade unionism is coming back across the globe. In the UK, Mick Lynch, the leader of the RMT has through the tactical use of the strike and adept media performances popularised trade unionism among a whole new generation. In the US, Amazon workers in Staten Island were successful against all the odds in winning union recognition. There have been successful union campaigns in some of the most hostile union environments such as Starbucks.”  Delegates also debated the future of public water services, ending precarious work practices and  promoting blended and flexible work patterns and precarious work. The conference concluded today in the Talbot Hotel in Wexford.