(17 October 2023) On 6 October the Social Services Working Group met in Brussels to discuss the new Social Dialogue in Social Services, early childhood education and care, and collective bargaining in eastern Europe.
Leena Kaasinen, from the Finnish Nurses Union SuPer gave an update to the Working Group members on the recent activities of the EPSU Early Childhood Education and Care network (ECEC). Concern over staff shortages is a key challenge to overcome in order to provide quality ECEC to all children. However, the reasons for the staff shortages vary between the different countries and thus demand different solutions. A policy paper on staff shortages will be prepared by the Commission ECEC working group and members of the EPSU ECEC Network are welcome to comment on it.
Barbara Surdykowska (expert at the Institute of Public Affairs and Center for Social and Economic Analysis) gave a presentation on a research project on collective bargaining in Eastern Europe. The goal is to develop collective bargaining in the sectors of care, administration, and waste management in east and central EU countries as well as in Serbia (a country with EU candidate status). First there will be national reports and then a comparative report, followed by seminars. There will also be national boost workshops to strengthen trade unions capacity in the sectors mentioned.
The Working Group also discussed aspects of the new Sectoral Social Dialogue on Social Services Committee, including draft rules of procedure, the draft work program and the draft agenda for the Plenary meeting on 12 December.
Participants were informed that the UN has decided to make 29 October the International day for care and support, which the Group felt was very positive. EPSU will prepare a statement.