On 5th July, while the Social Employers and EPSU hosted a meeting on “Addressing workforce needs & challenges in social services to implement the EPSR and the EU Care Strategy”, the European Parliament adopted a resolution “towards a common EU action on care” that echoes the EU strategy awaited for September 7.
MEPs call for a sustainable and increased investment in the sector, to ensure equal and effective access to affordable quality care and support services.
The resolution recognises the key role of social dialogue, the need for better working conditions and investment in the sector. This recognition is particularly important for a sector where most care givers and providers are women, which makes care a gendered issue.
MEPs also highlight the role of the European Union supporting Member State actions to improve care services for children, older people, persons with disabilities and other people in need of care, according to their individuals’ needs. Legislative measures and investment through social dialogue are needed, to promote decent working conditions and to make the sector more attractive to tackle labour shortages. Specially since demographic changes will only exacerbate the workforce shortages.
The resolution also addresses some of the Social Employers and EPSU issues presented in their joint position paper requesting the European Commission and member states to strengthen the social services sector and to address and anticipate its workforce needs and challenges.
To tackle these issues, the Parliament “urges the Member States to place adequate staffing levels and investment in care staff at the centre of their care policies; calls on Member States to increase the attractiveness of the care occupations by ensuring social recognition, decent working conditions and fair remuneration, including adequate working hours, which would as a consequence help to tackle the existing labour shortages,…”.
The European Parliament also “calls on the Member States to strengthen social dialogue and promote collective bargaining and collective agreements in the care sector, public and private, and profit and non-profit, institutional as well as family- and community-based settings as crucial mechanisms for the improvement of employment and working conditions and for tackling the gender pay gap, and as the most effective tools for securing an increase in the minimum wage and in wages in general”.
These are the reasons why the Social Employers and EPSU submitted their official request to the European Commission for setting up a dedicated sectoral social dialogue committee for social services, which will also help to develop social dialogue at national level. The answer to the application is awaited for the Autumn.
The text in your own language is available here.