Staffing levels, Procurement
(May 2017) Around 200 workers and the 1100 people they provide care for are the latest victims of private care company bankruptices. The collapse of Hjemmehjælpen Aarhus, the largest private care company in Aarhus, Denmark's second city, is the third private care company bankruptcy in May and the 41st since 2013 when a new tendering system was introduced. The FOA public service union is calling for a change to the system with requirements to monitor professional and management skills, company finances and to protect working conditions.
(April 2017) Beginning this month the municipal services union Kommunal will be investigating the employment and working conditions of cleaners, looking at their employment status, working hours as well as health and safety problems. The union will carry out a survey as well as making workplace visits to talk to workers and assess how they are affected by what are often seen as the main problems facing the sector - the impact of privatisation, lack of control over work - but also good examples where workers do have more control over working time and other working conditions.
The FNV trade union has submitted proposals to the government to set staffing levels in eldercare. The union wants to see two workers for every eight residents and emphasises that there should be a balance of different skill levels. FNV argues that this is a crucial measure that will help improve recruitment and retention in the sector by ensuring that workers are not overworked and have enough time to spend with clients.
(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.
(March 2017) The FOA public services union has called for action to stop low cost bids for social care contracts require quality provision in the tenders. The union reports one recent example where municipalities have chosen a bid from a private company that involves DKK 10,000 less spending per client. The union argues that the situation has lead to bankruptcies as companies realise they can't meet the contract. This impacts on workers' jobs and is a challenge for FOA to ensure private companies sign up to the sector collective agreement.
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.
Member of the services union ver.di working in several hospitals across the country took strike action on 19 September as part of the union's campaign on safe staffing levels and reducing workloads. EPSU general secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan sent a message of support, underlining the importance of protecting the well-being of both health workers and patients by taking urgent action to reduce staff shortages in the sector estimated at over 160000, including over 70000 frontline care workers.
On 3 October the EC published a new procurement package. This contains a number of different elements, including a Communication, a targeted consultation on the woolly concept of ‘innovative’ procurement
Public procurement, digitalization, young workers, equality on the agenda of EPSU committee on Local Government
A first reflection on the themes and priorities for EPSU’s upcoming Congress in May 2019 was one of the items on the agenda of the local and regional government committee meeting on 19 September in Brussels.