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(en) France, UCL AL #318 - 22. Unionism and care activities: caregivers are caregivers (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Fri, 23 Jul 2021 10:00:12 +0300

The aging of the population, struggles and recruitment difficulties in the care professions, give food for thought about the strategies and demands made by unionism within the framework of the feminist struggle. ---- Let's tackle the issue of unionism in the healthcare environment through "caregiver leave". Since the end of 2020, each employee has the right to leave paid by CAF to take care of a loved one with a disability or loss of autonomy. ---- Labor law then favors a process of privatization of care activities within the private family circle. This right reinforces the idea that these activities are reserved for women. And unsurprisingly, we see that caregivers are in fact caregivers [1].

Privatization also benefits lucrative personal service companies. Consequences: deterioration of working conditions and service rendered, precariousness and low wages. The current struggles in the early childhood sector are a good illustration of this. The insurance sector is already preparing to finance, with the future Grand Age law, services on the loss of autonomy, through branch and company agreements.

The privatization of care
The struggle unionism opposes the socialization of the financing of these activities: social contribution and inclusion of the loss of autonomy in the sickness branch of the Social Security. But also the socialization of their organization: a strong public service to limit sources of profit as much as possible. Not without contradiction: caregiver leave is a union demand.

Socializing these activities, for better wages and against precariousness, is to gain a material basis for a central objective to unify feminist and trade union demands. Have society recognize care activities as real work, to be paid for, to promote, to finance, to organize and to unionize. Socialization helps to take the exercise of these activities out of the private family circle. And to exercise them as much as possible by people outside this circle.

The trade union confederations, because it does not only concern women, do not really put this objective forward. They therefore do not establish a concrete link between their general principles of gender equality and these struggles. They fail to fight the patriarchal ideology which affirms these care activities as naturally feminine.

Conversely, by affirming this objective, trade union struggles in healthcare activities will contribute much better to the feminist struggle. In return, feminist movements will be more inclined to link up with trade unionism for the support and organization of these struggles. The slogan "class struggles and feminism, same struggle !Will take on more concrete content.

The UCL Vosges group


[1]Public health news and dossier n ° 109 - December 2019.

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