UNI Europa welcomes the decision by the European Commission to set up a European sectoral social dialogue committee for social services. Commissioner Schmit and his team were a driving force in getting this positive result. We are looking forward to fruitful cooperation among all the representative social partners on the committee – the European Council of Regions and Municipalities (CEMR), Social Employers, CESI, EPSU and UNI Europa.
The work of a social dialogue committee is not only about formal involvement, UNI Europa will engage with our partners in all the committee’s activities to make a difference for workers in social services and, indeed, for the sector as a whole. We welcome the assurances received by the Commission that UNI Europa and its affiliates will be consulted independently on matters pertinent for the social partners in the sector.
Social services are central for the future of Europe and face many challenges, ranging from labour shortages to violence and harassment against care workers. Social dialogue and social partners are key in both finding and implementing sustainable and equitable solutions in the sector that best serve care users, workers and providers as well as society at large.
In the new structure, UNI Europa, represented by its secretariat, will be the strong voice of our affiliates. We will ensure that the interests of workers and their unions are fully taken into account in the work of the committee, irrespective of whether an employer is public, not-for-profit or for-profit. In this context, we note the clear statement by the Commission that UNI Europa is one of the representative social partners in the sector.
UNI Europa remains committed to an inclusive social dialogue for social services bringing together all representative social partner organisations. We will continue strengthening our social dialogues with employers in the sector in full autonomy – especially with those – beyond CEMR and Social Employers – that are not covered by this committee. UNI Europa’s social dialogue work with our social partners on the employers side will also inform our engagement with the new social dialogue committee in social services.
Irrespective of the scope of the new committee, we will continue working towards a European social dialogue framework that reflects the diversity of the social services sector. The fragmentation of the social services sectors clearly call for more cooperative and innovative forms of social dialogue.