Decent instead of precarious jobs – valuable work in Europe

From February 12th to 13th, 2022, a seminar on the topic "Decent instead of precarious jobs – valuable work in Europe" took place, organized by KAB Germany (Catholic Workers' Movement Germany e.V.), with the support of EZA and the European Union.

The seminar was originally planned as a large conference in the KönzgenHaus in Haltern; however, due to the current situation regarding the Covid 19 pandemic, the European employee representatives could only participate digitally.

The 45 participants spent two days dealing with the topic of precarious work in Europe. In addition to the exchange of previous experiences and the "reality check" by experts from KAB, KVW and CAJ, Prof. Dr. Werner Nienhüser as a work and organisation expert and the Protestant social ethicist PD Dr. Sabine Plonz provided the scientific expertise.

The central question of the seminar, whether precarious work has increased during the pandemic and whether its impact on those affected has worsened, was unequivocally affirmed by all participants. In the reports presented, it became clear that in the sectors in which precarious work occurs particularly frequently, the fears of the employees about the future have increased. Protection against possible infection with the corona virus was also particularly low in precarious employment relationships.

During the seminar, particular attention was paid to the situation of 24-hour caregivers. Christoph Holbein-Munske, educational worker at the KönzgenHaus and moderator and coordinator of the event, pointed out that this group “has to work under particularly precarious and sometimes almost slave-like conditions in all countries considered. The nursing shortage is practically carried out on her back. This is where we as KAB come into play: through targeted empowerment, we have to ensure that something changes!" This requires the power of employees and trade unions, demanded Werner Nienhüser in his presentation. And Sabine Plons also made her demand for this industry quite clearly: "No profits in care!"

At the end of the two-day European seminar, KönzgenHaus Managing Director Norbert Jansen drew a positive conclusion: "We have once again made it abundantly clear that the issue of precarious work is more important than ever, especially during and after the Corona pandemic. The main topic "humane instead of precarious", which the KAB Deutschland has set very recently, comes at exactly the right time; we must and will keep at it, and must not let up!"

"Inhumane and precarious work is an important issue throughout Europe," confirms Christoph Holbein-Munske. It is even more important that the European KAB movements continue to network and coordinate in this regard to bring it further into the public spotlight and to achieve improvements. "At our event, very good and concrete ideas for further mutual exchange emerged, especially with regard to organising 24-hour caregivers or the unconditional basic income." These two topics should be pursued further in the employee organisations of the participants and progress and experiences will be discussed in another seminar next year.