Global Day of Action "Investment and Decent work in Care"

29 Oct 2021 Geneva, Switzerland 29 Oct - 29 Oct

Global Day of Action "Investment and Decent work in Care"

  • 29 Oct - 29 Oct
  • Geneva, Switzerland

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the central place of care in our lives. Governments have to adequately fund public social care and protect the workers who deliver care services. Millions of members of our affiliates continue to deliver public health and social care services, under the most challenging circumstances, as the world still navigates the devastating health and socioeconomic crisis caused by the pandemic. The majority of these workers are women, and they are often from racialised and migrant communities.

The working lives of care workers[1] have been characterised by long hours of work, lack of access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and other health and safety measures, physical, emotional and mental exhaustion, poor working conditions, low wages and uneven access to vaccines.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how decades of under-investment in public health and care systems have severely affected the quality, accessibility, and safety of health and care services. The pandemic has also deepened pre-existing national and global structural inequalities across gender, class and, in many cases, racial and ethnic lines. There is an urgent need for adequate public investment to achieve universal quality public health and care. We need to rebuild the social organisation of care, integrating the recognition of the human right to care, and ensuring social care services are provided as a fundamental human right, and public good which is universally accessible.

Governments need to take action now to ensure this fundamental right. We must have adequate numbers of well renumerated and protected care workers to make this a reality. Thus, governments have to meet the global shortfall of 18 million health and care workers as projected by the United Nations High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth in 2016. We must thus deepen our campaign for safe and effective staffing of care, and decent work for care workers. Workers across the health and care sector, whether working in hospitals, hospices, care homes, private homes or schools, in the public or private sector, deserve improved working conditions, that reflects their enormous contributions to our societies, and fair and equal pay for work of equal value.

[1] The term ‘care worker’ is used to describe all workers across the care and health sectors, whether in the formal or informal economy, and includes domestic workers.

Join the events

PSI will be organizing a series of online meetings for affiliates in the week of the Global Day of Action. These include:

  • Monday 25 October (16:00 – 17:30 CET): Unions Defending Care Workers in COVID-19 Times (webinar for affiliates to share experiences) – To register please click HERE (Interpretation in EN/ES/FR)

  • Tuesday 26 October (10:00 CET): Launch of EPSU report: Resilience in Long Term Care: early lessons learned from the pandemic

  • Wednesday 27 October (16:00-18:00 EDT): The current state of care in Latin America. Opportunities for rebuilding the social organisation of care (the webinar will present a study case on care policies in Mexico, Costa Rica, Bogota City, Ecuador, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina) (Interpretation in EN/ES/PT). To register please click HERE

  • Thursday 28 October (16:00 – 18:00 CET): The social organisation of care. What it looks like and how it should change. A feminist and trade union perspective. (The webinar will launch PSI’s Global Study on Care) – To register please click HERE (Interpretation in EN/ES/FR)

  • Friday 29 October (16:00-18:00 CET): webinars held jointly with the Global Unions:

    • Investments and Decent Work in Care” – voices from Europe and Asia-Pacific - 09:30 CET to 11:00 CET. Register here.

    • "Investments and Decent Work in Care”- voices from the Americas and Africa - 16:00 CET to 17:30 CET. Register here.

  • Friday 29 October (10:30 CET): EPSU will organise a symbolic action outside the European Commission – using crocs to symbolise the care workers who are unable to attend the action as they are working. EPSU/PSI European affiliates will also hand their list of demands to a representative of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg (TBC)


Global Day of Action for Care

Global Day of Action

On 29 October, we urge you to take action in your country, as part of the Global Day of Action on Care by calling on your governments to invest in care and ensure decent work for millions of care workers. This means:

  • Invest in universal, quality public health and care – including mental health, childcare, early childhood education, elderly care and other social care services - to ensure the creation of millions of jobs with decent work which includes fair wages, and humane working conditions; and to close gender gaps in labour force participation

  • Ensure decent adequate wages and improvement in working conditions, including equal pay for work of equal value, training opportunities and occupational health and safety for workers in health, care and education, including home care and domestic workers

  • Ensure equity and non-discrimination in recruitment, retention, access to training and promotion opportunities for workers across the health and care sectors

  • Ensure that the rights to freedom of association and to collective bargaining are respected for all workers in the health and care sectors, whether in the formal or informal economy, as well as their representation in the decision-making process.

  • Fund universal, gender-responsive social protection accessible by all workers regardless of employment status or migrant status, racial or ethnic background, disability, gender, identity expression or sexual orientation, and inclusive of workers in the informal economy

  • Ensure accessibility for all to quality public health and care services, including refugees and migrants, regardless of status.

  • Shift from the "care economy" approach which has contributed to the commodification of care to "rebuilding the social organisation of care" where care needs and care work are not simply considered as economic issues but as human rights, which governments are dutybound to provide and safeguard.

What you can do

You can take action by:

  • Sending a model letter to your government stipulating key demands

  • Launching an advocacy and awareness-raising campaign to promote investment and decent work in care; the campaign can include (virtual) public events, the launch of a petition in collaboration with civil society allies, -including informal economy associations and feminist movements - organising a press conference to announce key demands and to launch your campaign Launching an organising campaign to support care workers in joining unions and exercising their collective rights

  • Sharing on social media video messages and/or social media graphics of health and social care workers., care recipients and family members of the care recipients to highlight the value and importance of universal access to properly resourced quality public health and care services

  • Organising a twitter storm with key messages for governments and policy makers

  • Show support and solidarity with care workers across all sectors.

  • And more...

In the lead up to the 29 October, we will make available materials that you can make use of prior to and during the Global Day of Action on Care. Kindly share your plans and materials for country-level country level action, as part of the Global Day of to mark the day.

We count on your support and engagement, to raise the banner of quality public care for all, and Decent Work for care workers.

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