Allied Employers: SOS Racismo Gipuzkoa (Spain)
Launched by SOS Racismo Gipuzkoa, Allied Employers is a project that consists of creating spaces for meetings and dialogue between migrant domestic workers and employers -single elderly people or families with care needs- in Gipuzkoa.
Allied Employers aimed at creating a meeting space between migrant domestic workers and employers, to reflect on the needs of both parties and draft together viable proposals to ensure quality care in decent conditions for workers, workers, employers and cared-for people. The pilot also aimed at raising awareness among employers and the general public about the inequalities of this sector and the future of care, through visual material.
In Gipuzkoa, the population over 65 is growing at a very fast pace while the model of care within families is becoming increasingly difficult and the adaptation of public management to guarantee quality care in old age is not growing at the same pace. The covid 19 health crisis has brought this situation into stark relief, highlighting the need for urgent action.
The organisation SOS Racismo Gipuzkoa has been working for nearly 10 years to make visible and denounce the abusive living and working conditions of migrant domestic
workers who work as carers in homes. It works through different awareness-raising activities, workshops on labour rights and participation in local, community and state advocacy and work networks, and also offers free labour counselling for migrant women employed in the domestic sector.
Among the materials that the organisation has generated are the research published in June 2019 which covers the socio-labour situation of domestic workers in Gipuzkoa and the consequences of this situation on their physical and mental wellbeing; the documentary Chica Seria y Responsable; and the photographic exhibition A thousand faceless hands.
In addition, the SOS Racismo Gipuzkoa domestic workers’ group organises leisure activities for migrant women carers in the territory or national meetings of domestic workers’ groups among other things.
Over the last 5 years, the organisation has realised the need to raise awareness among the general public and local institutions of the precariousness of the sector and the intersectionality of the problem. For this reason, it has strengthened its networks with other domestic workers’ collectives in the Basque Country and in Spain that work with the same perspective, and has tried to generate contacts with employers in the region who are potential allies in this struggle to dignify the sector and guarantee the rights of all the parties involved in care work in the homes of Gipuzkoa.
You can follow all the group’s activities on its Facebook page.
SOS Racismo organised separate and joint workshops with domestic workers and employers. 22 persons among employers, workers and representatives of associations participated in the process. The result of these discussions has been a set of common proposals that were presented at Renteria City Council and the provincial government of Gipuzkoa. Following the presentation, the city council has opened a public service to facilitate information and act as an intermediary between care seekers and domestic workers. This was one of the proposals made through the pilot.
As part of the awareness raising activities, SOS Racismo organised a photo exhibition titled “The Mirror”, and an international conference with stakeholders from Italy, Austria, and international organisations focusing on domestic work (FITH, EFFAT).
Other organisations in the region have contacted SOS Racismo to replicate this innovative project and SOS is currently preparing a project proposal, with the county development agency and the city council, that would develop further those seeds planted by the pilot project.