Thursday, 23 October 2014

Negotiating Improvements for Working Carers of Adults (NICA)


Just a brief post to thank my previous employer, the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) for asking me to consult on (and then write) the teaching materials aimed at trade union reps to provide them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to conduct collective bargaining in order to improve workplace policy and practice to support the needs of working carers.

I was pleased to be able to work alongside Katherine Wilson of CarersUK and Sheila Barratt of Greenwich University (who wrote a supplementary literature review) in devising and writing the teaching materials. The teaching materials and literature review were launched at an event in Brussels 22-23 October.

The project (negotiating improvements for the working carers of adults - NICA) which facilitated the creation of the teaching resources was a European trade union project with partners from Malta, Poland and Bulgaria.

L-R: Charlotte, Katherine and Sheila
We were joined at the Brussels event by Dr. Charlotte O'Brien of the law school at York University to present her research on the care penalty. This is a highly thoughtful analysis of the particularly vulnerable position of working carers to suffer a variety of penalties given their typical social, political and economic position within economies.

The proposal to afford a positive right to reasonable adjustments (alongside other elements) akin to disabled workers is arguably justifiable given the 'crisis of care' that Europe (and other parts of the world face) as people live longer and care provision shrinks.

Here's a link to an article Charlotte has written on the care penalty:

This is a particularly valuable initiative and I hope that GFTU affiliates, and the NICA project partners succeed in adapting the training resources and realising positive change in the working and personal lives of working carers.

Here is a link from one of the partners of the project, SOLIDAR, to a write-up of the Brussels event:,1597.html

In Solidarity


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