Sitemap

Care Workers

No Care For Care Workers

Decades of public neglect and underspending have brought us to the point that even an unprecedented global health emergency and economic collapse are not enough to make mistreatment of lowpaid essential workers socially and politically unacceptable. Our applause is no longer enough to keep them keeping us safe

Those who thought that a pandemic would make everyone realize the crucial role of care workers should think again. With the coronavirus still spreading rapidly, frontline workers are more essential – and at greater risk – than ever, yet public attention has shifted elsewhere. Worse, as economies collapse and labor- market conditions deteriorate, employers in the private and public sector alike have grown more cynical in their treatment of essential workers. Far from instilling a deeper appreciation for their employees, the pandemic-induced surge in unemployment has enabled employers to exploit workers even more.

Capitalism has always had an uneasy relationship with care work. Although capitalist production relies heavily on unpaid and underpaid labor performed by women, migrants, and other disadvantaged social groups, it has historically pushed that work off the books and underground, into informality. As a result, all the varied tasks associated with social reproduction are barely recognised, much less rewarded or remunerated. Because so much care work is performed for free by women and girls within families and communities, it is simply taken for granted and, because it is outside the market, not counted as economic activity.

Unpaid work performed by women who have no other choice thus creates a vicious cycle of devaluation. When women do enter labor markets, their wages tend to be lower than those of men, not only because they are willing to work for less, but also because so much of their work is available for free. Hence, occupations dominated by women – such as in the care sector – tend to be lower paid; even men doing similar work suffer a wage penalty.

In the case of health care, there are additional occupational hierarchies to navigate, from highly paid “professionals” like specialist physicians down to nurses, ward attendants and cleaners. Unsurprisingly, the gender balance within each occupation changes as one goes down the pecking order, with women concentrated in the lower-status, worst-paid positions.

Care Workers

Globally, women hold 70% of all health-care jobs. But they are more likely to be nurses, midwives, and community health workers, while men comprise a disproportionate share of better-paid occupations like surgeons, physicians, dentists, and pharmacists. Community health workers are perhaps the most exploited of all health workers, especially in developing countries. They often aren’t recognised as workers at all, but rather as “volunteers”. As such, they rarely benefit from formal contracts that provide job security and a fair wage, let alone protections like health care.

Community health workers are perhaps the most exploited of all health workers, especially in developing countries. They often aren’t recognised as workers at all, but rather as “volunteers”

Women healthcare workers are also more at risk in the current pandemic, because they are more likely to be involved in activities that require close physical contact with patients. For a brief period after the pandemic first erupted, these workers were widely recognised for their critical contributions to society. Around the world, political leaders and members of the public applauded essential workers, singing their praises from balconies and leaving flower bouquets outside hospitals.

But while health-care workers at all levels were rightly described as “heroes,” that seems to have represented the extent of their reward. The public acclaim has not translated into better working conditions or higher wages, and certainly not systematic efforts to ensure their physical safety during the pandemic.

For example, in the United States, a brief period during which some companies offered their frontline workers slightly higher wages was soon followed by reversion to the norm: wages returned to their previous lows – and sometimes went lower. Similarly, in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked the immigrant nurses – “Jenny from New Zealand”, “Luis from Portugal” – who saved his life when he was hospitalised with COVID-19. But then he had no problem trying to slap a surcharge on immigration fees (ironically for the purpose of funding the National Health Service).

The situation in developing countries is even worse. Governments faced with falling tax revenues are practicing austerity in the midst of a health emergency and recession, slashing non-COVID-19 health spending, forcing pay cuts and longer hours on health workers, and avoiding the expense of procuring personal protective equipment.

More...

Roman Menz, Managing Director Of Moravacem, A Member Of CRH Group

We View Changes As New Opportunities

Since August 2015, when CRH first arrived on the Serbian market, the company has recorded good business results, participated in significant national infrastructure projects...

Darko Jovanović, Senior Partner, Karanović & Partners

In Love With One’s Job

Karanović & Partners, the leading legal practice in the region of Southeast Europe, has more than 100 cooperating lawyers in Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina,...

Danilo Ćirković, Executive Director AOFI

Liquidity Of Policyholders Preserved

AOFI has been present on the Serbian market since 2006, as a pioneer in insuring receivables against the risk of payment defaults. It has...

Bojan Simović, Hörmann Serbia CEO

Always For True Values And A Healthier Planet

German company Hörmann has been synonymous with the quality of garage and house doors in the construction sector of Europe and on the world...

News

Production Of Sputnik V Launched In Serbia

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund) and Institute of Virology, Vaccines and Sera “Torlak” announce...

Start Of The New EU For Local Development Programme – EU PRO Plus

EU PRO Plus, a new European Union programme for local development, which aims to contribute to the overall social...

Kosovo: Expectations High Following Elections, UN Envoy Tells Security Council

Recent elections in Kosovo reflected a strong desire for change, the head of the UN mission there, UNMIK, said...

Distribution Of Laptops And Tablets, Bridging Digital Divide In Serbia For The Most Vulnerable Children Project

The Head of the European Union Delegation to Serbia, Ambassador Sem Fabrizi, UNICEF Representative in Serbia, Deyana Kostadinova, and...

Meeting Of The Head Of EU Delegation And The President Of Serbia

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met today with the Head of the Delegation of the European...

Production Of Sputnik V Launched In Serbia

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund) and Institute of Virology, Vaccines and Sera “Torlak” announce...

Start Of The New EU For Local Development Programme – EU PRO Plus

EU PRO Plus, a new European Union programme for local development, which aims to contribute to the overall social...

Distribution Of Laptops And Tablets, Bridging Digital Divide In Serbia For The Most Vulnerable Children Project

The Head of the European Union Delegation to Serbia, Ambassador Sem Fabrizi, UNICEF Representative in Serbia, Deyana Kostadinova, and...

Meeting Of The Head Of EU Delegation And The President Of Serbia

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met today with the Head of the Delegation of the European...

U.S. Announces New USAID Development Cooperation Strategy With Serbia

On April 12, 2021, the Ministry for European Integration and the United States Government officially extended their development partnership...