(16 March 2022) EPSU affiliates representing members working in Orpea gathered again on Tuesday, 15 March 2022 to share updates and to coordinate their responses.
Representatives from French affiliates thanked those who extended messages of solidarity for their action on 8 March. Recognising that care is a women-dominated sector, unions across Europe marked International Women’s Day with a protest in front of Orpea’s head office. The demo was organised by CGT Santé Action Sociale with the support of CDFT Sante Sociaux and FO Santé. An EPSU delegation and union representatives from Belgium and Germany joined the demo. Affiliates from Spain, Ireland and Portugal also sent messages of solidarity on the day.
The group heard from Chair of Orpea German subsidiary Residenz-Gruppe’s works council and of the European Works Council (EWC). After attending the demo in Paris, a letter was received from the employer threatening dismissal, claiming that the participation in the demo is not compatible with the work in the works council. This is not acceptable and not legal. We reacted and the letter was withdrawn. ORPEA has to stop this anti-union behaviour.
This letter is the most recent action in Residenz-Gruppe sustained campaign to dismiss our colleague for standing up for quality care for residents and for respect of workers’ rights. Affiliates shared their solidarity ahead of our colleague’s fight these accusations in court next week, saying that “an attack on her is an attack on all workers.”
Affiliates also used the occasion to update colleagues on their countries ongoing investigations into Orpea. They highlighted that while these care homes may meet minimum standards, workers across Europe still face issues in delivering quality care. Affiliates agreed to continue fighting the growing trend of commercialisation of care services. It is crucial that the European Care Strategy protects workers and residents – and not profit hungry companies.