29 October 2021 - Global Day of Action for Care Workers with a symbolic action in front of the European Parliament
(4 November 2021) EPSU marked the Global Day of Action for Care Workers with a symbolic action in front of the European Parliament and a series of events.
The EPSU report “Resilience of the Long-Term Care Sector: Early Key Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” was launched on 26th October. The report reveals that almost a half million care workers left the sector due to stress, low pay and precarious work in the last two years.
On the 29th October, the Global Day of Action for Care Workers, dozens of white nursing crocs were placed outside the European institutions (Council and Commission) to represent 421,000 care workers who had to leave their job. EPSU’s Secretary General, Jan Willem Goudriaan, said that care workers’ working conditions, which were already poor, deteriorated during the pandemic. Workers in the sector can’t provide the care that users deserve. EPSU demands more public funding for the care sector and not to turn back to austerity. The better collective agreements to ensure higher pay and decent working conditions for all care workers in Europe are needed.
A delegation of care workers from affiliate unions from Belgium, Germany, Spain and The Netherlands participated in the actions and publically testified about the conditions of care workers across Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bert de Haas, Catharina Gokke e.v. Hanssen, Adriana Christina van de Westelaken and Ghislaine Généviéve Chantal Yvette Hulshof from FNV (the Netherlands), Ilka Steck from Ver.di (Germany), Evelyne Van Hulle from CNE (Belgium) and Jauna Peñafiel Heras from FSS-CC.OO (Spain) represented hundreds of thousands of care workers from different parts of Europe.
The delegation also met with around 20 MEPs including Kateřina Konečná, Marc Botegna, Eugenia Rodríguez Palop and Anne-Sophie Pelletier from the Left group in the European Parliament; Mohammed Chahim, Estrella Durá Ferrandis, Agnes Jongerius, Gabi Bischoff and also staff from the group from the Group of the Socialists and Democrats; Sara Matthieu from the Greens and Dennis Radtke and Sirpa Petikainen from the European People's Party on 28th October or the following days. The delegation demanded that the upcoming European Care Strategy, which was announced by President von der Leyen, should meet the expectations of care workers. The delegation also put forward that the next Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) strategy as well as public procurement, which are both the responsibility of the EU, should focus more on care workers and ensure their proper pay and conditions.
EPSU affiliates also reiterated the need of an investigative committee at the EU level to draw the lessons of the pandemic in long-term care.
You can reach photos of EPSU’s action here.