PSI has already contributed on two occasions so far taking an active role in a participatory process called Town Hall reuniting leading actors of the international municipalist movement. This participatory process is part of the preparations and policy inputs that will go into the next UCLG World Congress on 10-14 October 2022 in Dajeon (South Korea) and will mould the organisation’s mandate 2022-2028, the “Pact for the Future”.
to build the public care system for the future we need to break the long-standing belief that care is an exclusive women’s job.
Speaking at the opening of the Town Hall on Caring Systems on 1 February 2022, PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli said:
“if we are to build the public care system for the future we need to ‘de-womenise care and break the long-standing belief that care is an exclusive women’s job. Nursing and care professional schools must be opened to men, too, and care responsibilities shared between men and women at the household; as well as between families and society”.
She stressed that public policies that incentivise women to get voucher pay, leave their jobs and stay home instead as 24-hour family carers while public care services get financialised - fail those women, as well as users and society. Finally, the value delivered by care workers must be captured in GDP data so that the value of care work can be fully appreciated, and care workers remunerated accordingly.
Speaking at the opening of the Town Hall on Caring Systems on 1 February 2022, PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli stressed that public policies that incentivise women to get voucher pay, leave their jobs and stay home instead as 24-hour family carers while public care services get financialised - fail those women, as well as users and society.
UCLG Town Hall on Caring Systems
“Care services are primary responsibility of governments at all levels. Collaboration between governments, communities and civil society can play a role when it is shaped fairly. Yet, if we are to rebuild our global commons - including care services - we cannot have them traded in the stock exchange market. Care must be recognised as a human right” concluded Pavanelli.
Public care services are humanity at their best
On 23 February 2022, addressing the UCLG strategic retreat gathering UCLG’s global constituency and allies in Barcelona (Spain), Daria Cibrario, PSI Local and Regional Government Officer said:
“Public care services are humanity at their best. They are collective solidarity systems built to look after those who cannot take care of themselves, so that ‘none is left behind’. But when the private sector gets involved in care service provision things go wrong, as private providers have an intrinsic incentive to deliver shareholder value on what should be acknowledged as a human right, as exemplified by the ongoing private care scandals in France”.
She reminded that - while most care workers worldwide are informal women workers, often unpaid or underpaid, with precarious jobs, a migrant background and no labour rights - the demand for local care services is increasing with demographic growth, deepening inequalities, societal atomisation and the desegregation of patriarchal household models.
“As your social partner, PSI is ready to engage constructively with UCLG and its constituency in a twofold manner. At a macro level, we can work together to shape progressive, transformative public care policies and reclaim the adequate public funding needed to equitably deliver quality local public care services to all. At the workplace, PSI affiliates are ready to engage in constructive dialogue and collective bargaining so that our members – your workers – are enabled to bring quality care services at their best to the communities they serve” concluded Cibrario.
Echoing the joint PSI-UCLG Joint Statement in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic “Strong local public services for a safe world”, UCLG’s Decalogue for the post COVID-19 era, encompassing post-Covid policy priorities for local authorities worldwide, UCLG puts public service provision and the protection of public service workers at the center, with a special focus on securing health and care services for all in cities, towns and territories.
Article 7 of the Decalogue reads: “The crisis has highlighted the importance of protecting public servants. It is up to local and regional governments to take care of those who work day-to-day to provide basic services to our communities, to value their contributions to society, to ensure decent work and to foster a model of production that is people-centred and that puts service provision, and providers, at the forefront. It is further imperative to acknowledge the jobs, mostly done by women in the care sector, often underpaid or even unpaid. Their care is not only an indispensable safety net but also a critical contribution to our economies”.