Covid-19 has uncovered many societal fault lines. The virus hit the elder care sector in many countries especially hard, leading to many deaths and pushing elder care workers fighting on the corona frontline to the end of their limits. The pandemic has underscored the deficiencies in elder care that haven been warned about and protested by trade unions for years. Precarious working conditions, understaffing and underfunding devastatingly undermined the ability to protect the most vulnerable during the corona pandemic: our elderly.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has on initiative of the Swedish municipal workers unions, Kommunal, and the Swedish progressive thinktank Arena Idé commissioned reports from several Europeans countries. By focusing on the plight of those in need of care and their care givers, the reports shed light on the impact of the pandemic has had on elder care and highlights the justified demands of the care workers’ trade unions as well as the long overdue reforms for the elder care sector in general.
Across Europe, the coronavirus pandemic has hit the elderly hard, and particularly those in elder care, placing care workers on the corona frontline of an underfinanced, understaffed and undervalued care sector. Years of austerity policies and neoliberal new public management have increased the level of privatisation and precarisation, and decreased the rate of unionisation. This report summarises nine country studies on the effect of coronavirus on care workers in Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Sweden. The report concludes with policy recommendations.