ver.di campaign on fighting social dumping for health care workers

(5 May 2011 Berlin/Brussels) On 15 April 2011 German EPSU affiliate Vereinigte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (ver.di) launched an initiative to promote ethical cross-border recruitment and the concept of good work with the aim to safeguard equal pay for equal work in a give territory for health care workers on the backdrop of the lifting of final restrictions on free movement for workers from the 8 member states from Central and Eastern Europe having joined the EU in 2005 on 1 May 2011.

The campaign is based on a call for action and the collection of signatures highlighting ver.di’s request for good and fair working and pay conditions for health care workers in Europe (“Fachkräfte im Gesundheitswesen brauchen gute Arbeit in Europa!”; in German only).

In the call ver.di asks for an improvement of working conditions and an increased coverage of the health care workforce by collective agreements. More information (in German only) on the [ver.di webpage on health policy->].

The call is open to signatures during the weeks and months to come. It will be disseminated and promoted amongst trade unionist, members of work councils and health care workers. It suggests using the code of conduct as basis for employer/works council agreements. The call also asks to put the topic of integration of migrant workers from inside the EU and from third countries and related challenges in view of their recruitment, induction and retention high on the agenda of staff and management of hospitals, long-term care institutions, etc.

The campaign builds upon a European code of conduct on ethical cross-border recruitment and retention (see below). The call highlights key principles such as high quality health care, accessible for all people in the EU; workforce planning; equal access to training and career development; fair and transparent contracting; proper induction, housing and standards of living; equal rights and non-discrimination; and freedom of association/affiliation to a trade union.

On 7 April 2008 EPSU, the European Federation of Public Service Union, and HOSPEEM, the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers’ Association, the two partners of the European sectoral social dialogue in the hospital and health care sector, adopted a [Code of Conduct on Ethical Cross-border Recruitment and Retention->]. With this joint commitment they underlined their firm intention to address inequalities and unnecessary burdens on healthcare caused by unethical recruitment practices. They developed 12 principles that should guide health care employers and employees in their joint efforts to develop appropriate solutions to a broad range of challenges of practical and ethical nature related to cross-border mobility and migration. In the months to come they will collect and share information on the follow-up and implementation of this code of conduct by social partners in the various member states in view of preparing a report and an assessment in early 2012. On 21 May 2010 the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed the [WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel->], inspired by the EPSU-HOSPEEM Code of Conduct signed two years earlier.

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