Dear colleagues, friends,
In our current newsletter, we would like to give you an overview of our ongoing activities in the last six months.
1. Care reform
While the care allowance for care families was increased from 550 € to 800 € per month, no structural improvements were made for 24-hour care workers. The announcement that dependent employment of 24-hour care should become more attractive by improving the conditions under labour law was deleted without replacement. On the contrary, it became possible that a caregiver on a self-employed basis may care for three persons to be cared for, which is a clear deterioration!
For this reason we have written an Open Letter, which has been signed by more than thirty organisations! To express our anger and disappointment about the result, we organised a lively and loud demonstration in front of the Ministry of Social Affairs on 27 June 2023. Colleagues came from different federal states, and one colleague each from Romania, Slovakia and Serbia gave very militant speeches.
The following meeting with the officials of the Ministry of Social Affairs was sobering. There was no sign of any intention to consider structural improvements in the future. The reference that supervision and online training are now planned can only be described as a mockery in view of the catastrophic working conditions.
2. Ute Bock Award 2023 for IG24
We are extremely pleased to have received the prestigious Ute Bock Award for Civil Courage on May 22th. It is awarded as a human rights prize by SOS Mitmensch and is probably the most prestigious award in Austria in this field. The laudatory speech was held by Ms Doris Schmidauer. The award ceremony in the rooms of the Vienna City Hall was followed by an enjoyable party!
After winning the SozialMarie Award 2021, this award means for us a further confirmation of the importance of our work.
In this context, an exciting interview also appeared in the Magazine for Human Rights
3. Visiting EFFAT (European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions), General Assembly of Domestic Workers in Brussels
At these meetings, future projects of both federations were discussed. The main focus was on the implementation of European and international law regulating the working conditions of domestic workers. One of the goals is the ratification and implementation of ILO Convention 189 for domestic workers by all EU member states. The Convention declares decent working conditions, labour standards and protection for domestic workers. Austria, Romania and Slovakia have not yet ratified the Convention.
Although the professional situation of self-employed caregivers does not fall under the scope of ILO Convention 189, EFFAT is interested in addressing this issue in Austria. Grace Papa, EFFAT’s political secretary for domestic workers, will be invited and a meeting with relevant ministries and trade unions in Austria will be arranged.
Thanks to your support, we were able to initiate the first legal steps, and more are in the pipeline. We will report on politically relevant results as soon as they are on the table.
Once again, we would like to thank all our donors and supporters for their great support of our crowdfunding-campaign.
News from our ongoing projects
1. Our work, our rights!
The “Our Work, Our Rights!” project is in full swing and we are pleased to announce that we have entered the presentation and visualisation phase of the project.
WEBINARS & NETWORKING: Since September we have organised a series of webinars and meetings for 24h care staff on current issues in the sector. We continue to encourage you to confidently attend these meetings, which are designed specifically for you! It is not only a professional approach, but also an opportunity to meet colleagues and get involved in this community.
2. Care4Care: From precarious to safe working conditions
In the “Care4Care” project we have completed the first phase of research with the study on Promising Practices for Employment in Home Care. The study on “Promising Practices” looks at employment relationships in home care in Switzerland, Italy and Spain and at two cooperatives from the UK and Ireland that are considered innovative examples of organising care services.
Currently, our two experts are researching the employment model in Austria, in which questions about the practical implementation of the Working Hours Act and social security are being considered.
3. Migracare: Integration of 24-hour caregivers into care networks in Austria
The main task of IG24 in the “Migracare” project is to initiate a networking process between community nurses and caregivers, as well as to familiarise the social counselling centres as contact points for cared-for persons with the topic.
At the federal level, we got in touch with the Institute GÖG (Gesundheit Österreich GmbH), which accompanies the implementation of the Community Nurses project. Thus, we have gained access to all Community Nurses working in Austria and will organise two online workshops at the Institute for all interested caregivers.
The main goal is to inform the caregivers about the structural and activity-related problems of the caregivers and to think together about support offers and a possible cooperation. It is not uncommon that caregivers also have and/or need contact with nursing staff, because the exchange between both professional groups is often necessary according to the diagnosis/level of care of the client. These workshops are prepared and conducted by two carers from our team.
4. Making the invisible visible
The project “Making the invisible visible” started in April 2022 and is managed by the Research and Counselling Centre for the World of Work (FORBA) together with IG24. We are happy to have valuable experts like Johanna Neuhauser from the Institute of Sociology at the University of Vienna as well as CuraFAIR – Anlaufstelle für 24-Stunden-BetreuerInnen der Volkshilfe Flüchtlings- und MigrantInnenberatung as cooperation partners! The survey tool developed in the project is used to collect a comprehensive picture of the working reality of 24-hour care workers.
Since the start of the project, several team meetings have taken place, the programming team for the project website has been set up and the first qualitative interviews with colleagues from the sector have been conducted. Based on this, we are currently working intensively on the questionnaire for the future online survey.
Thank you for your interest and support ♥