Social dialogue in welfare services. Employment relations, labour market and social actors in the care services – SOWELL

The European labour market in the welfare sector is becoming particularly relevant in terms of occupation, given that around 20% of the European workforce is nowadays employed in this sector, while it was around 15% at the end of the 1990s. Among the most dynamics fields there are the care services, specifically the socio-educational ones for children aged 0-5 and social and health services for elderly people. Care services have drawn increasing attention from European institutions also as a part of the “social investment” strategy because of their high capacity in relieving (especially female) workers from caring responsibilities, thereby mobilizing the “productive potential” of citizens.

The dynamic growth of the care sector has triggered an unprecedented plurality in provision, including public, private for-profit and not-for-profit organisations, and individual caregivers. In such a complex network, the labour market has known a fragmentation in labour regulation within and across countries, entailing increasing inequalities and an overall deterioration in working conditions. Despite the relevance, these issues have attracted limited systematic research in the field of industrial relations and labour studies. Accordingly, the SOWELL project aims to examine the care services sector in an employment relations perspective, as a new arena for building solidarity and labour market coordination through social dialogue institutions in Europe. Therefore, the project focuses on working conditions, employment relations institutions, and social partners’ strategies in the arena of care services. On this purpose, a multilevel comparative perspective is adopted, linking the developments taking place at European level with those occurring at national level across different institutional and regulatory context – Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Spain.

Start date: 01/07/2020
End date: 31/12/2022
Funding: DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Agreement number: VS/2020/0242
Principal investigator: Oscar Molina
Team: Alejandro Godino, Joan Rodríguez-Soler

Project Website

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