European Parliament report is a step in the right direction for the care sector

EU care strategy report

(Press statement, Brussels, 5 July 2022) The European Parliament report, ‘Towards a common EU action on care’, marks a good step forward for care workers across Europe. The report recognises the need for better working conditions, social dialogue, respect for workers and public investment in the care sector. This recognition is particularly important for a sector where the majority of workers are women, many of whom from a minority background, and whose work is undervalued. We now expect the Commission to build on this in the European Care Strategy and put forward a strong framework to strengthen the resilience of the sector, promote public services and stop the commercialisation of care.

In the past, we have denounced the devastating and disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on care homes. In the first year of the pandemic, as many as 421,000 workers left the long-term care sector across the EU-27.

The outbreak of Covid-19 exacerbated many problems in long-term care already identified by EPSU for years. These issues include lack of funding, labour shortages, increasing psychosocial risks for care workers and accelerated privatisation of services. This must stop. We need to reverse the trend.

Jan Willem Goudriaan, General Secretary, EPSU, commented “As the European Trade Union Federation representing care workers in the public, private and non-profit sectors, we welcome this report. It strongly identifies the need for adequate staffing levels and investment in care staff, including social recognition, decent working conditions, fair remuneration and adequate working hours. There is a clear need to improve working conditions in order to tackle labour shortages, and this is best achieved through social dialogue. We hope that the Commission will continue in the same line and listen to our demand for a European social dialogue committee in the sector.

EPSU and the Federation of European Social Employers, as the representative trade union and employer organisations in the sector, have formally requested the establishment of an EU level sectoral social dialogue committee in social services. Social dialogue at EU level for this sector, represented by NACE codes 87 and 88, will allow for greater gender equality.

ENDS

For more information please contact Pablo Sanchez at psanchez@espu.org or 0032 (0) 47462663

For the full report of the European parliament  (different languages)