(March 2017) After years of campaigning, workers in social care might see some respite from the race to the bottom on contract costs and pay. The government has approved an order in council that requires municipalities to adopt fair and equitable rates for home care. This should end the situation where local authorities were issuing tenders which providers could only meet by cutting costs and for workers this meant either losing their job or seeing a massive cut in pay.
Historic decision on care contracts
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Workers in the elder care sector in Bizkaia, northern Spain, backed by the Basque Workers’ Solidarity trade union ELA, have reached an historic agreement bringing an end to a 360-day long strike, the longest in the region’s history.
A new report by the Eurofound research organisation examines the long-term care sector and the challenges of low pay and difficult working conditions faced by workers, 80% of whom are women. The report indicates that there is good collective bargaining coverage in some countries, but this is often mainly in the public sector with low coverage in the private, for-profit sector and particularly low coverage of home care staff. Low pay, relative to other sectors, even impacts on the more skilled and senior staff and the widespread use of part-time work – double that of other sectors – also means
The trade unions representing care workers - FeSP-UGT and CCOO-Sanidad - are planning two days of mobilisation on 30 October and 7 November to put pressure on the two employer organisations (CEOE and CEPYME) to negotiate on pay. The union federations are angry that the employers have failed to negotiate the introduction of a EUR 1000 minimum wage (14 payments) for the sector even though it had been proposed in the last collective agreement. The unions put forward a proposal for reaching the level in stages up to 2021 but the employers failed to respond.