David Boys, Utilities Officer, directs PSI’s work on the utilities of water, waste and energy, which includes advocacy in international organisations and assistance to unions in strategic planning and campaigning. PSI also assists unions in coordinating union representation in multinational utility corporations.
Much of the work consists of helping unions block the privatisations driven by development banks, multinational corporations, international organisations and donor governments. Blocking privatisation requires a combination of solid research to know the sector actors and dynamics; union activism and mobilisation; coalition building to broaden the popular base, and some degree of international pressure.
The current analysis demonstrates that privatisation of water and energy is failing to deliver reliable, accessible and equitable services, especially in developing countries. PSI’s challenge is not only to demonstrate this reality, but to articulate and help implement alternative policies based on public ownership and management of these key resources.
David is a recognised authority in the water sector and is a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, where he originated the concept of public-public partnerships as an alternative to privatisation.
David has helped unions in a variety of countries fight, and defeat energy privatisation, including in Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Canada, the USA, South Africa, Kenya, etc. The successes in resisting water privatisation are even more numerous, with unions and civil society creating powerful barriers.
The biggest challenges in these sectors are to involve workers and their unions with citizens, public managers and elected officials in order to deliver quality public services for all.
David also works on corporate social responsibility and investment issues with unions which have worker-trusteed pension funds.
Prior to coming to PSI in 1998, he worked for 11 years with the Service Employees International Union in Washington, DC., with responsibilities for coordinating policy and activities in the Canadian region and to strengthen SEIU’s international activities, notably in the property services division, where he worked with UNI, and in pensions policies with PSI.