Quality employment project

Over the course of 2017 and 2018, EPSU ran a European Commission-funded project examining the nature of quality employment. While considering in general terms the different elements that could be used to define quality employment, the project also focused on the specific aspects of work and employment in two sectors - prisons and childcare services.

The HIVA research unit at the University of Leuven in Belgium was contracted to carry out background research on the issue as well as prepare four country case studies for each sector. The reports on prison services covered Greece, Italy, Sweden and the UK while the childcare reports covered Bulgaria, Italy, Sweden and the UK. The two summary reports provide an overview of the main findings from the country studies. The country reports were researched by national experts based on a questionnaire drafted by Monique Ramioul and Yennef Vereycken at HIVA.

Along with the studies, the project involved two conferences and two workshops. The first conference took place in Brussels in January 2017 with over 120 participants from 30 countries. It included a general discussion on quality employment led by Guy van Gyes of HIVA. Other sessions covered specific elements of quality employment, such as pay, collective bargaining, health and safety, precarious employment and working time. There were then two sector-specific workshops. The first on prisons took place in Brussels in May 2017, bringing together 32 participants from 14 countries to discuss the current state of the prison service across Europe and the main challenges facing trade unions, including overcrowding, understaffing and violence.

The workshop on childcare services took place in Brussels in December 2017 with 20 participants from 11 countries and again with a lead presentation from the colleagues at HIVA. There were key contributions from several EPSU affiliates, including from Bulgaria, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and the UK with low pay, low status, lack of training and health and safety among the main concerns.

The final conference was in Brussels in June 2018 with Monique and Yennef presenting the main findings of the country reports. There were over 70 participants from 24 countries. As with the first conference there were several other sessions looking at important aspects of quality employment, including gender equality and pay trends as well as the impact of digitalisation.

This project was organised with the financial support of the European Commission

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