Major overhaul needed: UNI Global Union’s new report on empowering care workers

03.06.24

Care

Major overhaul needed: UNI Global Union’s new report on empowering care workers

UNI Global Union launched its new report, Winning Rights: The Path to Empowering Care Workers Worldwide, at the International Labour Conference today. The report underscores the critical role of care workers and highlights the urgent need for reforms in a sector grappling with significant challenges, including inadequate pay, staffing shortages, and insufficient health and safety measures. These issues, if left unaddressed, threaten the sector’s ability to meet the demands of an aging population and effectively respond to future pandemics.

To address these challenges, UNI Global Union recommends the implementation of tailored national strategies aimed at improving working conditions for care workers. These strategies include ensuring fair compensation, safe staffing environments, and proper training, while also upholding workers’ rights to unionize. The initiatives are designed to enhance the quality-of-care services, promote gender equality, and reduce inequality and poverty.

The care sector is at a crossroads,” said Alan Sable, UNI Global Union’s Head for Care.Recognizing the invaluable contributions of care workers and taking concrete steps to improve their conditions is crucial. This includes formalizing their employment, providing adequate training and professional development, ensuring safe staffing levels for decent work and high-quality care, and guaranteeing their right to unionize and collectively bargain. These measures are fundamental to safeguarding and advancing their human rights.”

 

Key Highlights:

 

  1. Formalization of Employment: Advocates for the formal recognition of care workers, especially in home-based and community settings, ensuring better conditions through direct employment by governments or regulated private employers.

 

  1. Training and Professional Development: Emphasizes the need for adequate training and professional development to boost job satisfaction and care quality, citing successful programs in Argentina and the Dominican Republic.

 

  1. Safe Staffing Levels: Highlights the importance of safe staffing levels for quality care and reduced turnover, noting successful campaigns in the U.S., Canada, and Australia that led to legislative action mandating minimum staffing standards.

 

  1. Global Agreements: Supports global agreements to protect care workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively, with examples like a successful agreement with Eimis, improving conditions for thousands of workers.

 

  1. Support for Migrant Care Workers: Calls for supportive policies for migrant care workers, including recognition of foreign qualifications and access to training, ensuring fair treatment and integration into the formal labour market.

 

  1. Investor Engagement: UNI Global Union’s Investor Initiative for Responsible Care (IIRC) collaborates with institutional investors to promote responsible investment in the care sector, aiming to ensure decent working conditions and high-quality care services.

 

As we present this report, we call on governments, employers, and stakeholders to create a care economy that values and protects its workers,” added Sable. “Together, we can build resilient and effective care systems that serve our communities and honor the dignity of care work.”

 

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10

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