On the Global Day of Action for Care, 29 October 2022, workers demand investments and decent work in the care economy, and the ITUC report, Putting the Care Economy in Place: Trade Unions in Action Around the World, explains why it matters.
The ITUC is calling for 575 million new, decent jobs by 2030 and the formalization of at least one billion informal jobs. Investment in the care economy is at the heart of these demands for job creation and formalization.
According to recent ILO estimations, investing in universal childcare and long-term care would create 280 million jobs by 2030 and would boost the employment rate of women by 78%, and 84% of the jobs would be formal.
“Investing in care makes sense for our societies. Health, education, and care for children, disabled people, and older people are now recognized as a foundation for resilience in our communities against national or global shocks and for meeting the promise of the UN Sustainable Development Goals”, affirmed Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.
The ITUC report presents country-specific data on the job creation potential and gender equity implications of additional investments by percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and it highlights inspiring examples where trade unions are working to put comprehensive care systems in place:
- Canada: During the COVID-19 crisis, the labor movement built on decades of campaigning to win major investments in care, expand public care infrastructure, and establish a national childcare system.
- The Dominican Republic: An inter-union committee of working women has pressed for improved working conditions for care workers and, in particular, domestic workers. The government has introduced a pilot project to transform home care services from unpaid, informal employment to formal employment with minimum wage and social security.
- Argentina: Trade unions are pushing to amend the draft “Care in Equality” legislation so it guarantees a comprehensive care system as a right for the entire population, as well as investment to create care jobs with decent pay and conditions.
- India: The Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) is calling on the government to increase investment in care to at least 1% of GDP to implement a national, universal, quality childcare system.
- South Africa: The trade unions are successfully pressing the government for rights and benefits for informal workers, such as minimum wage, the right to paid leave, and injury compensation that includes sexual assault and harassment.
- Spain: Trade unions successfully pushed for their country to be the first to follow the EU Work-life Balance Directive. Now, they are demanding increased public spending and improved working conditions for care workers, and better quality care.
“We need jobs and investment plans in every country to kick-start progress for women and make these care jobs a reality by 2030 as part of a new social contract, grounded in equality, equity, and inclusion”, reiterated Sharan Burrow.