(27 February) EPSU participated in a stakeholder consultation by the European Commission and the EU Social Protection Committee on the future of long-term care. Addressing the lack of staff and low pay for workers and ensuring that all Member States develop long-term care as part of their social protection were key demands of EPSU.
Representing Europe’s workers in care services, EPSU was invited to present its views to the Social Protection Committee. It is a body composed of Member State experts. Other stakeholders included our employers FESE (Social Services Employers), the AGE Platform, Eurocarers and the European Ageing Network. We discussed the challenges in the sector and presented ideas for solutions. This was followed by a discussion with delegates from Member States.
The necessity of well-funded public social protection systems, addressing the lack of staff, low pay and the importance of collective bargaining were at the core of our intervention. The ILO finds a lack of 2.3 Million carers in Europe and warns of a global care crisis if current deficits are not properly addressed. Collective bargaining is the most effective and reliable tool to improve wages and working conditions that in turn will render the profession more attractive. The employers held very similar positions. Both the unions and employers underlined the role of social dialogue at national as well as at European level.
This consultation will feed into the second report on long-term care by the Social Protection Committee. Amongst others, this report aims at developing indicators for accessibility, efficiency, affordability and quality of care. Generally, the European Pillar of Social Rights gave a new impetus for the Commission to work on long-term care. By the end of the year, DG EMPL will start a consultation process to prepare a green paper on ageing, where a broader vision for long-term care, but also pensions, will be laid out. The meeting took place Friday, 21 February, Brussels. EPSU policy staff for social services and the General Secretary participated.