Following a national day of action on 18 June, workers in childcare, playgroups and after-school care will begin a campaign of industrial action in the Netherlands from 23 June. Different workplaces will be targeted at different times and various forms of strikes and other industrial action will be organised. The action is over excessive workloads and has been launched following the failure of the BMK and BK employer organisations to respond to an ultimatum from the FNV trade union. The union is warning that employees’ wellbeing is under threat and the quality of service will be compromised if action is not taken. The union has made several proposals for reducing the workload, such as cutting the number of children in a group and hiring extra staff, but the employers have not agreed to any of them. Meanwhile, in Italy childcare workers organised a online event on 16 June as part of a campaign against outsourcing of childcare provision and on 18 June 2021 and in Venice, parents and workers have joined in a rotating hunger strike in protest at the municipalities plans to privatise childcare.
Childcare workers in action
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On 14 September 660 childcare facilities across the country were hit by national strike action coordinated by the FNV trade union. This is part of a campaign, running since July, that has involved regional stoppages as well as an earlier day of national strike action. The union wants the employers to negotiate a collective agreement that includes concrete measures to tackle excessive workloads and unpredictable working hours. The FNV says that the employers are looking to the government for solutions but argues that there are practical measures that the employers could take such as hiring
Good quality childcare and early years education are vital public services. However, they are often underfunded and, for many workers unaffordable, while childcare workers themselves, the vast majority of whom are women, are often undervalued and underpaid.At European level there is some recognition of the importance of childcare in increasing women’s employment and as a contribution to encourage gender equality. This meeting will debate these issues with a range of speakers including researchers, trade union representatives, employers, civil society and the European Commission.
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