European social partners start talks to improve working conditions for care workers

Social services will be the 44th European social dialogue committee and the first one set up in over a decade.

The European Commission established on 10 July 2023 the European social dialogue committee for social services. The committee is an EU-level collective bargaining body bringing together European social partners in the social services sector, which mainly includes elderly care, care of persons with disabilities and childcare. As such, the social services committee will cover approximately 9 million workers across the EU. The employer side will be represented by the Federation of European Social Employers and the European Council of Regions and Municipalities (CEMR) while the European Public Service Union (EPSU) will represent the European workers of the sector.

This is the 44th European social dialogue committee and the first set up in more than a decade. Its establishment follows the request made by the social partners to the Commission and is in line with the Commission's care strategy, which aims to ensure better care services across the EU and improve the situation for both carers and care receivers.

The committee’s tasks include concluding EU-level agreements in the social services sector – which can then be transposed in binding EU law by the Commission if the committee so desires. Its missions also include delivering opinions and recommendations to the Commission as well as encouraging and developing the social dialogue at European, national and local level in the social services sector.

“We are quite ambitious both on the union side and on the employer side about what we can achieve because we have been waiting for so long,” says Tuscany Bell, policy coordinator at EPSU. The priorities of the committee's draft work programme include working conditions, job evolution, skills and job attractiveness.