Dear colleagues, friends,
people in solidarity!
Almost in time for the beginning of autumn, we want to give you an overview of our activities in the last six months and tell you about our plans for the coming months.
The project “Our Work, Our Rights!”, which is financed by the Digifonds of the Vienna Chamber of Labour, has been running since July 2022.
The project aims to create a transparent and clear communication (on- and offline) of labour rights – especially with regard to women’s and migrants’ rights – for the 24-hour workers. To this end, the content for a series of explanatory videos on different topics such as work and life in Austria was developed at the beginning of September, and the video production has meanwhile started. In early 2023, the videos will be published in several languages on YouTube and our website.
The 1st video contains some safety measures that can be taken to avoid possible problems when working in 24h personal care in Austria. The information in this video is based on the most common problems in the industry and should be understood as recommendations.
The 2nd video contains important information that caregivers should know when they arrive in Austria. In this video we focus on the self-employed model (i.e. working through a trade), with or without a placement agency.
Subsequent plans include: An online counselling tool, multilingual information brochures, a series of network meetings and webinars with specialists in labour law, trade administration, women’s rights and much more.
From January 2023, a counsellor will be available for 24-hour online counselling.
The project was developed in cooperation with LEFÖ-IBF, the intervention centre for trafficked women, and started in May 2022. With this project we want to improve the working conditions of migrant caregivers and thus contribute to safe labour migration. The project has several levels: In the first part, we focus on strengthening and professionalising IG24 as an organisation, with the aim of supporting the self-organisation of migrant workers in the best possible way. For this purpose, training in areas such as organisational development or media and lobbying work will be used.
In the “research part” of the project, a best practice study is currently being conducted to examine employment models in the care sector in five European countries. It will serve as a basis for the development of a concept for an employment model in Austria.
In order to better understand the effects of commuter migration in the countries of origin and in the private lives of caregivers, the project goes beyond the borders of Austria. We are currently forming a consortium with partner organisations from Slovakia and Romania and will start our cooperation in January 2023.
In May, the government presented the key points of the care reform. While concrete measures were adopted for the training and payment of professional carers, the paper remained completely unspecific with regard to 24-hour care. The only ray of hope – also unspecific: An improvement of labour law conditions is to make dependent employment in 24-hour care more attractive.
At the end of August, the Ministry of Social Affairs invited to a stakeholder exchange. The topic was quality assurance in 24-hour care in the context of self-employment. As measures, a bonus for quality-certified agencies was demanded from the placement agencies; for colleagues who work without agencies, the Ministry of Social Affairs is considering the development of a quality certification for caregivers. IG24 has pointed out that the current form of the OQC does not take into account the working conditions of caregivers and that further training measures are only conceivable in the first language and online and that this must be accompanied by an increase in fees. The necessity of expanding on-site controls of the working situation and the support and counselling of caregivers by qualified nursing staff was also discussed; talks with the Länder are planned in this regard.
We have made some decisive steps forward in our lawsuit against bogus self-employment: The lawsuit has been filed and the trial will start in the next few months. A campaign with testimonials is running on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Through crowdfunding, we have collected half of the possible legal costs. However, a large part of the costs are still outstanding, which means that we are dependent on further donations and continue to collect. Help us, together we can still achieve this important contribution!
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all donors and supporters and are of course happy about further donations and any form of public solidarity!
5 Our new office in Vienna
Since April 2022 we are part of the office community in Schottengasse 3A/1/4/59, 1010 Vienna and proud tenants of our own small but nice office space. This enables us to carry out our project work from here, to store our materials, to hold meetings and, if desired, to organise consultations on site.
Feel free to make an appointment – we look forward to your visit!
Since the beginning of the Amnesty campaign, IG24 has cooperated with Amnesty International in many ways. After a successful first meeting, the second meeting of this kind took place at the end of September. Organised and moderated by Amnesty International, representatives of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Care, the Ministry of Labour and Economy, the Federal Chancellery and spokespersons from various interest groups (ÖGB, AK, IG24, CuraFAIR) were present. Among other things, the regulation of the profession of personal organisation (placement of personal care workers), structural solutions for systemic obstacles, violence and sexual assault within the sector and state controls of working conditions as well as concrete proposals for improvement on the part of IG24 and Curafair were discussed.
The summary from this meeting: the need for structural improvement in the sector beyond the current situation is recognised by all sides. Further networking meetings in this format are necessary and desired.
7 Dangerous transports
At the beginning of September there was another fatal accident involving a passenger van with seven 24-hour caregivers on board. This accident is not an isolated case, but has a history that is regularly repeated in 24h care in Austria and always costs lives.
IG24 has called for a rally on 1.9.2022 and organised it together with its partner organisations LEFÖ, Amnesty, Curafair and the UNDOK association.
Alois Stöger, Member of the National Council, took our initiative as an opportunity to submit a parliamentary question. We thank him for this and hope that it will also lead to consequences for these life-threatening working conditions!
Together with CuraFAIR – Anlaufstelle für Personenbetreuer:innen (project of Volkshilfe Upper Austria), we published an information brochure for caregivers in January 2022, first in German. Now the Romanian and Slovakian versions of the brochure are being printed and will be sent to our members as well as being available for free download online on our website. Furthermore, Bulgarian and Hungarian translations of the brochure are being commissioned. We are very pleased that 24-hour carers will soon be able to read compact information and tips about the personal care business, social security, family benefits, etc. in their mother tongue! Targeted at the questions from the 24-hour carer communities, the brochure tries to provide an overview of the complex matter in an understandable way. It is intended not only to make it easier for 24-hour carers to carry out their business activities, but also to protect them from exploitation at work in the sense of prevention.
9 Equal treatment and anti-discrimination
On the topic of equal treatment and anti-discrimination, we were able to take important steps in May and June 2022.
In May 2022, an NGO dialogue in the anti-discrimination field took place on the topic of “Equal Treatment and Care”, in which we participated as speakers. Thank you to the Section for Women and Equality in the Federal Chancellery for the invitation!
In June 2022, IG24 participated in the webinar of the Ombud for Equal Treatment on the topic of equal treatment and anti-discrimination. This initiative came from the Ombud for Equal Treatment. It was unfortunately prompted by a case of sexual harassment of a Romanian 24-hour caregiver by a client. The lawyers from the Ombud for Equal Treatment gave us a lot of support in advising and intervening in the case mentioned. We thank them for the time they gave us and look forward to further cooperation!
10 Presentations, lectures, publications, workshops
The last months we had numerous lectures and teaching events in different faculties such as the University of Applied Arts in Vienna (dieAngewandte) as part of their lecture series Art-Research-Gender.
Furthermore, we were this year’s speakers at the Gender Gala of the Institute for Political Science at the University of Vienna. Under the title “Migrant, female, indispensable – and overexploited!” we spoke about the working conditions of 24-hour carers, our activities within IG24 and the emancipatory perspectives in this sector.
In Innsbruck, we were present at the event “Migrant, female, overexploited and system-relevant. The organising of 24-hour carers“. Together with the Women’s Secretariat of the ÖGB Tyrol and the research platform Center for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies of the University of Innsbruck (CGI), we had the opportunity to bring our concerns and demands to the discussion event and to spend an exciting evening.
In addition, we were present at the following events:
– Book presentation “Borders of Glass. Work, racism and struggles of migration in Germany“.
– Opening of the Vienna Week
– Opening of the exhibition “Hilfslinien” at the Women’s Museum in Hittisau
In addition to our presence at various events and lectures, we wrote articles and gave interviews for numerous newspapers, magazines and books. You can read our statements in the Kleine Zeitung, the magazines Frauensolidarität, AEP-Informationen, Momentum Quarterly, the diary or in the Gaismair yearbook (Wirtschaft neu ausrichten! The Care Movement and its Conceptual Foundations, published by Barbara Budrich Verlag). As part of the series “#nachgefragt. Geschichte hat viele Perspektiven” (History has many perspectives) series of the Haus der Geschichte, a video interview was produced as a follow-up to the exhibition “Heimat großer Töchter” (Home of great daughters).
Thank you for your support and interest!