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In June 2024, the International Labour Organization‘s International Labour Conference discussed decent work in the care economy.

International Organisation of Industrial and Service Cooperatives’ (CICOPA) secretary general, Diana Dovgan, addressed the meeting to talk about the role of co-ops within the care sector. Co-operatives:

  • provide quality work to caregivers in a sector characterised by precarious working conditions
  • ensure quality, affordable, uninterrupted care even to the most disadvantaged persons
  • call for partnership with governments

Read their statement:

“Care is a universal need, while care provision is a fast-growing sector of the economy. Care workers are fundamental to our society, but they also face some of the most difficult working conditions and a lack of standard job expectations. The high prevalence of undeclared and informal care deprives a significant number of caregivers of guarantees and rights associated with formal employment and disproportionately affects women. Access to quality and affordable care services is not guaranteed for everyone, exacerbating social exclusion, discrimination and precarity of vulnerable people.

In this context, cooperatives have been emerging as innovative and attractive providers of quality care, especially in situations where other providers, such as public authorities or private actors, cannot satisfy the demand. The pioneering social cooperative movement emerged in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s, as a reaction to insufficient care services and funding crisis. Since then, the cooperative contribution to care has grown significantly, spanning multiple countries worldwide, meeting the high demand and addressing various challenges in the sector.

Today cooperatives across the globe are providing all types of care services to children, adults and elderly including home care, socio-educational support, support with social emergencies, nurseries, residential and day centers, support for children and young people in foster care, re-habilitation of psychiatric patients, home care for people with disabilities and more. …”

Read CICOPA’s full statement: Cooperatives as key partners for the provision of care services.

Additionally, the BCCM’s Care Together program was highlighted in their statement. “BCCM (Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals) has recently received an A$7 million grant from the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care to implement the “Care Together Program” in order to create and strengthen care cooperatives as a solution to the challenges Australia’s care sector is facing especially in markets where service delivery is failing including regional, remote and rural communities.”

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