(3 May 2021) On Thursday, 29 April, EPSU participated in an event organized by the European Policy Centre and other civil society organisations on the importance of the European Pillar of Social Rights for the social services sector in the wake of COVID-19. EPSU was represented by Jakob Embacher, responsible for social services at EPSU.
One day after workers’ memorial day, he noted the incredibly difficult situation that care workers had to endure during COVID-19. They had to work long hours due to a lack of staffing, risking infection, suffering under unbearable mental pressure, facing poor working conditions, insufficient personal safety and limited access to sick pay. However, these problems were not new and COVID-19 had simply exposed longstanding problems in the care sectors of many member states.
On a panel with Adriana Sukova from the European Commission and Heather Roy from Eurodiaconia, Jakob then highlighted the importance of the Social Pillar Action Plan in bringing about a new model of care, away from financialization and towards accessible public services with quality jobs and solid collective agreements. Creating attractive jobs with good working conditions and salaries is key to tackle the existing lack of care workers and realise the right to quality long-term care as well as childcare as enshrined in the Pillar.