A new report published by EPSU (European Federation of Public Service Unions) shows that, as the pandemic was at its peak, hundreds of thousands of care workers were abandoning the sector of long-term residential care .
While COVID was hitting hard in care homes, the sector saw as many 421.000 workers leave across the EU-27. The report is published as the global trade union movement celebrates the Global Day of Action for Care Workers on Friday, 29 October. This year, the motto is investment and decent work in care.
EPSU General Secretary, Jan Willem Goudriaan, says “The outbreak of Covid-19 exacerbated many problems in long term care already identified by EPSU for years – such as lack of funding, labour shortages, increasing psychosocial risks for care workers and accelerated privatisation of services. This must stop. We need to reverse the trend .”
EPSU is also organising a symbolic action to raise awareness of its demands outside the European Commission building on Friday, 29 October – EPSU action for Global Day of Action for Care (29/10) | EPSU – after a delegation of care workers from Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany meet with around 20 MEPs to ensure that the upcoming European Care Strategy – announced by President von der Leyen in her State of the European Union speech – lives up to the expectations of hundreds of thousands of care workers at the forefront of the fight. The next Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) strategy as well as public procurement—both EU competences — should focus more on care workers and ensuring their proper pay and conditions.
Last year EPSU, together with the European Disability Forum and Age Platform Europe, urged the European Parliament to establish a committee of inquiry into the devastating mismanagement of the pandemic in long-term care facilities. This is another of our demands for the Global Day of Action – one that is long overdue.
Last but not least, EPSU (the voice of Europe’s care workers) and Social Services Europe have formally requested the European Commission to establish a social dialogue committe for care workers