Strike day in the professional care sectors

Feb 02, 2021
Success of the second care worker strike: ELA demands the start up of investigation commissions to explain what has failed in the care homes with Covid-19

On the 26th of January this year, the streets of the four capital cities of Hego Euskalherria took on a clamour for a public care system during the strike called by ELA, LAB, CCOO, UGT and ESK in the professional care sectors of Hego Euskal Herria. Thousands of workers and citizens in general, took part in the demonstrations, which were supported by family associations such as Babestu or Gipuzkoako Senideak, household worker associations, different platforms for pensioners and feminist groups, amongst others. Once again, ELA has denounced the completely abusive minimum services decreed by the Basque Government and the Government of Navarra, which has made it impossible for many workers to use their right to strike.

At the event in Bilbao, the secretary general, Mitxel Lakuntza took part, demanding that, immediately, Investigation Commissions should be started up in the General Juntas of Gipuzkoa, Bizkaia and Araba and in the Parliaments of the Basque Country and Navarre to analyse what has failed in the care sector and to take the necessary steps to ensure that this never happens again.

At the events held in the four capital cities of the Basque Country, the three Regional Governments and the Town Councils, as well as the Government of the Basque Country and Navarre have been questions, to demand that the current care model, which is based on business and not on the people, must be immediately changed. Improving the working conditions of the professionals in the sector is essential in order to ensure that the people who need the care have a comprehensive, decent care in the different life cycles, from cradle to grave. This care model must be based on approachability, quality care the respect for the independence of the people in question.

In Navarra, where ELA convened the strike on its own, the main demonstration took place in Pamplona, which started at Antoniuti at 11.30 and ended opposite the Residencia de La Vaguada, one of the care homes for the elderly that applies the State agreement.

Toti Ciarra, the delegate for this care home, called for the direct responsibility held by the Government of Navarra to demand the immediate change of the current care model. Izai Bujanda, head of the Federation of Public Services, emphasized that an Agreement for the Care Homes and Day Centres for the elderly in the area of Navarra must be reached. “It is impossible to give decent care while a State Agreement that makes the workers jobs insecure is being applied.”

The demands made by ELA that lead to a strike in the sector are:

  • Passing to public of care services for people in situations of particular vulnerability (home help, day centres, care homes, community housing, supervised housing, hostels and other social intervention services).
  • Guarantee of subrogation and consolidation for direct and outsourced employment, including temporary jobs.
  • Hiring of an additional 10,000 professionals and extension of the working day up to 100% (except with voluntary requests).
  • Suitable steps to overcome the gender gap in the sector and acknowledgement of the social and productive value of care work.
  • Improvement of the direct care ratios and substitution of staff on sick leave from the first day.
  • Suitable steps to guarantee health at work, particularly regarding psychosocial risks.
  • Emotional recovery plan to alleviate the serious damages inflicted by the pandemic.

This successful strike is the continuation of the one held on the 17th of November last year, and there is another one planned for the 4th of March. ELA will continue with its strike plans until a model is reached that guarantees the right to be cared for in a decent manner and that cares for those who provide this care. To ensure that keeping life at the centre is not just a slogan, and that life prevails over capital.