The Social Employers and EPSU apply for a European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Social Services

PRESS RELEASE (14 October 2021)

The Federation of European Social Employers and the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) recently submitted their joint application for a European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee (ESSDC) for social services to the European Commission. We received  feedback in response from Commissioner Schmit, and we expect a decision sometime in 2022.

The press release is available here.

There are nearly 11.5 million employees in social services across the EU27 and the UK and this number is growing steadily. The establishment of the social dialogue committee is urgent to address the challenges in the sector such as staff shortages, which have been aggravated by COVID-19 and an ageing population. 

The representativeness and negotiating capacity of both the Social Employers and EPSU has been clearly recognised in Eurofound’s recent representativeness study and the two organisations mutually recognise themselves as counterparts for social dialogue. 

The Eurofound study assessed that the Social Employers is the most representative European employers’ organisation in the social services sector and that EPSU is the most representative European trade union organisation for social services. 

The Social Employers and EPSU have a long history of working together. A series of six projects since 2012 were vital for the development of European social dialogue in the sector. In this context, both organisations held several European Thematic Meetings and published a wide range of joint statements, letters, and position papers, for example on opportunities & challenges of digitalisation in the social services sector, recruitment & retentionthe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the importance of developing social dialogue in the Social Economy.

They are currently working on a project on the consequences of Covid-19 crisis on social services, on capacity building in Central and Southern Europe and on sharing practices aiming to reinforce the sector’s attractiveness and they intend to go further in the framework of a sectoral Social Dialogue Committee

The joint application includes a work programme that is linked to the overarching principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights and aims to contribute to its implementation. It focuses on 4 main topics:  

  • recruitment and retention; 
  • working conditions; 
  • public procurement; 
  • capacity building.  

Gregor Tomschizek, President of the Social Employers, stated “This joint application for a sectoral social dialogue committee for social services is an important milestone towards the recognition of our sector and in our cooperation with EPSU. The social services sector is a growing and well-defined sector with nearly 11.5 million employees. European Social Dialogue is crucial to raise awareness, steer developments into a sustainable direction, and best respond to current and future challenges linked to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights by giving social services’ social partners the opportunity to shape and influence policies and decision-making processes.” 
Jan Willem Goudriaan, General Secretary of EPSU, “ The social services sector employs almost 11.5 million workers, and this number continues to grow in response to the needs of Europe’s ageing population. EU level social dialogue for social services is needed to ensure that the interests of these workers are protected in the future development of the sector, and in the face of challenges such as precarious employment and migration. The application for a sectoral social dialogue committee is another important step in our joint commitment with the Social Employers for a social services sector that works for all. ” 

Note to Editors

The Federation of European Social Employers represents employers in the social services sector at European level and has, according to Eurofound, the most significant employer’s representativeness in the private sector part of social services. The Federation’s objectives are to strengthen the position of employers in social services at European and national level, establish common positions between members, and negotiate with European Trade Union Associations, representing workers in social services.

The European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) brings together trade unions from across Europe and represents over 8 million public service workers. It is the most representative European trade union organisation in the social services sector. EPSU works hard to deliver better working conditions, improved health and safety and enhanced rights for its members. By sitting down with employers at European level, we negotiate best practice agreements that improve the working lives of public service workers and ensure quality services for citizens.

 For more information contact:

 Tamara Gomez-Sanchez
 Project & Communications Officer