EPSU asks Polish Presidency to keep long-term care an EU priority

EPSU meeting with Polish minister for family, labour and social protection, Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk

(23 May 2024) The Polish minister for family, labour and social protection, Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk discussed with EPSU:

  • Labour market shortages in particular in health and social care. Poland is one of the countries that has staffing shortages and below the EU average staff-patient ratios. A large part of its workforce in the sector is older as 55years, many needing care themselves as they grow older. The EU needs a comprehensive workforce strategy to address those shortages for health and care.
  • The priorities for the Polish Presidency and the EU. EPSU stressed the importance that long-term care needs to remain high on the EU agenda. We are concerned that the candidate for the next Presidency ms. Von der Leyen shifts the focus to other issues like competitiveness. This will risk building social Europe which is so important for workers and people in Europe. Collective bargaining coverage, addressed in the Adequate minimum wage directive is an issue in the social care sector, and EPSU looks for a stronger promotion of collective bargaining. It is the tool to address the low wages in the sector and ensure it remains attractive to work in health and social services.
  • With the minister we explored health and safety issues such as workloads, stress, workplace injuries and more. We stressed the need for a Directive on Psycho-social risks and on muscle-skeletal disorders. The ongoing negotiations on third party violence were highlighted and the minister explained that Poland will be transposing the EU whistleblower protection directive.
  • EPSU expressed our concerns about the impact the economic governance rules can have on welfare spending.

EPSU was represented by the General Secretary and our policy staff for health and social services. Pjotr Ostrowski, the President of the Polish confederation OPZZ, joined the discussions.  The meeting took place 21 May 2024, Warsaw, Poland.

For social media from the Ministry

A previous article on long-term care and staffing.

EPSU critique on the European Commission Action plan on labour market shortages.