Trade unions organising in the eldercare sector report an unprecedented level of mobilisation for their strike action and protests on 30 January. The action was coordinated across eight trade union organisations with the support also of the AD-PA association representing directors of eldercare institutions. The protests across the country were also joined by user groups and families. The unions have dismissed the government proposal for an extra EUR 50 million in funding saying that this is completely inadequate to address the urgent staffing needs and the claims for better pay and career prospects that would begin to recognise the workloads and responsibilities of elder care workers.
Unions celebrate unprecedented day of action in eldercare
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The ver.di health and social care union organised a national action day in the eldercare sector on 21 November. Along with local events across the country, the union coordinated a national photo action involving thousands of care workers. The aim of the day was to highlight the need for better pay and working conditions and more staff to tackle the increasing demands on the sector. Ver.di points out that staff face excessive overtime, extra shifts at short notice and long hours without breaks. The federal government is committed to creating 13000 new jobs in the sector but ver.di argues that
The FOA public services union is calling on the government and municipalities to take urgent action to tackle staffing shortages in eldercare. A recent survey found that three out of four local authorities didn't have enough eldercare staff and the situation is set to deteriorate as many workers retire. The sector needs around 13000 new recruits every year but the level is currently half that. The union says that employers use a lot of part-time work to save money and while many employees in the sector actually want to work full time. There is also a question of higher pay for young workers.
Public service unions are planning two major days of action over the next two weeks. On 15 March 10 trade unions in the eldercare sector, supported by users and families as well as an association of managers, will take their second day of strike action following the widely supported action on 30 January. They are calling for more funding for the sector and improved pay and career development for workers. On 22 March a group of seven unions have called a day of action in protest at government plans to cut 120000 civil service posts and to call for a pay rise for public service workers.