The Interessengemeinschaft der 24-Stunden-Betreuer_innen (IG24) is a self-organised, non-partisan association supported by activists with the aim of representing the interests of the professional group in a comprehensive way. We no longer want people to talk for us, we want to speak for ourselves. The initiators of the association are Iniciativa24, an association of Slovakian carers, and DREPT (Justice in Care and Personal Assistance), an association of Romanian carers.
We offer support for interested carers of other nationalities who want to become active in organising within their community and who want to build up advisory and lobbying structures comparable to the Slovakian and Romanian colleagues (ideally also within the framework of IG24).
The communities’ own initiative is the most important tool of IG24.
Due to the lack of urgently needed counselling services demanded by IG24, we offer our members mother tongue counselling by counsellors (currently Romanian, German and Slovakian) in cooperation with lawyers.
How we came into being and what has happened so far
In the course of the Covid crisis, the demands on the interest representation of 24-hour carers increased tremendously.
The handling of closed borders, unpaid PCR tests or quarantine measures, discriminatory access to the Hardship Fund, the Stay! Bonus and similar measures clearly demonstrated the lack of effective representation.
At the same time, there was suddenly unprecedented public interest in this indispensable professional group for assistance and care.
Thus, carers and supporters of the Romanian and Slovakian communities began to coordinate their activities. This was followed by intensive networking with the responsible authorities and initiatives, as well as a phase of intensive media work. The number of carers seeking counselling also increased by leaps and bounds.
This form of self-organisation is the basis of IG24’s representation of interests. It is equally important to build up consultation structures on the basis of this self-organisation, to promote solidarity-based networking and to point out and put an end to fundamental discriminatory practices in this sector.
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Affiliates and Board of Directors
History and activities of the DREPT association
The association “DREPT – Interessenvertretung der 24-Stunden-Betreuer_innen” is a self-organised group of Romanian 24-hour personal carers and activists who fight for better working conditions in this sector. In German, the word “DREPT” means right – because rights and justice are what is missing in this sector and what we are fighting for.
In August 2020, “DREPT” was established as a non-profit association. However, the core team, or rather the 24-hour personal carers and activists, have been demanding better working conditions and fair labour rights in this industry together for many years. The group emerged directly from the Romanian care community, out of the need and desperation of being alone and structurally unprotected from exploitation. The colleagues who co-founded DREPT could no longer close their eyes to the many forms of abuse and exploitation to which their colleagues were exposed. And therefore they started to organise.
Our main services are education about the rights and activities of carers, but also individual counselling, support and crisis intervention as well as political lobbying.
This year, the solidarity of carers has spread across borders: We have joined forces with our Slovakian colleagues from the organisation Iniciativa24. Together we founded the umbrella organisation for the representation of the interests of all migrant carers: IG24.
Our struggle is in Austria, but our solidarity is international.
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History and activities of the association Iniciativa24
Iniciativa24: advocacy of Slovak 24-hour carers came into being in times of the Corona pandemic – also as a reaction to the abuse and discrimination of carers during the Corona crisis.
Based on research into the conditions in this sector (see the thesis by Simona Durisova: The Organisation of Exploitation. Social and Labour Discrimination of Care and Support Workers in the Context of 24-Hour Care, with Special Attention to the Role of Placement Agencies) and reflecting on the problems and needs of Slovak carers, we would like to focus on 24-hour care in Austria in the long term.
Long before the outbreak of the Corona crisis, there was the idea of creating an interest group for personal carers. But it was Corona that challenged us to “take action”. Thus, Iniciativa24 was started as an informal platform on Facebook, where we shared our petition: “Fair application conditions for 24-hour carers” within the framework of the Hardship Fund.
In the course of our research on the topic, we came across the online platform of the Romanian carers DREPT PETRU INGRIJIRE. Immediately after the first contact, a cooperation developed quite naturally between us, from which our first big project – the foundation of the association IG-24: Interessengemeinschaft der 24-Stunden-Betreuer_innen – emerged.
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