As the COVID-19 pandemic exposes the devastating effects of decades of under-investment in healthcare systems, global unions representing millions of workers in the sector are joining forces on October 29 to demand adequate investment in care “to build more inclusive, accessible, resilient, and caring economies.”
“Rebuilding our care systems and ensuring that care workers receive a much-needed pay rise, regular hours, adequate staffing but also essential rights and dignity on the job will require bold governmental action and significant investments but there are no shortcuts if we really believe that our societies need to be more resilient and humane,” said Christy Hoffman General Secretary of UNI Global Union.
On this Global Day of Action promoted by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), UNIGlobal Union, Public Service International (PSI),Education International (EI), International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) and Women in Informal Employment Globalising ad Organising (WIEGO), the unions are calling on government to #InvestInCare because the pandemic “has underlined the centrality of health and care to our well-being and existence. The need for adequate investment in equitable, quality public health and care systems is more apparent and urgent than ever.”
The collective action, supported by workers from around the world will put in motion a global campaign to demand a caring economy that puts life at the center and promotes the following principles:
- Invest in gender-responsive, quality public health and care – including mental health, childcare, early childhood education, elderly care and other social care services that serve everyone
- Ensure decent pay and working conditions, including equal pay for work of equal value, training opportunities for all workers and policy to close gender gaps in labour force participation
- Improve staffing levels across health and care systems to protect both workers and care recipients
- Ensure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), paid sick leave and access to vaccines for all health and care 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, and wherever possible sectoral bargaining is established
- Fund universal, gender-responsive social protection accessible by all workers regardless of employment status or migrant status, race, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation, and inclusive of workers in the informal economy
- Ensure equitable access to quality public health and care services, including refugees and migrants, regardless of status.
“Workers across the health, care and education sectors, whether working in hospitals, hospices, schools, care homes, private homes or as domestic workers, whether in the public or private sector, deserve decent working conditions and fair pay, that reflect their enormous contributions to our societies,” said Sharan Burrow ITUC General Secretary.