Care industry shake-up hits women’s jobs and role in society

More than 25,000 jobs have been lost in the care industries since the government agreed a major shake-up last April and the impact is particularly hard on women, website says on Monday.

The jobs have gone in care for the handicapped and home nursing as well as home helps since the changes began, but employers expect the total to be around 55,000.

‘The end is not in sight and there are more alarming reports every week,’ says Ton Heerts, chairman of the FNV trade union federation.

The FNV wants the government to take action urgently or face a nationwide referendum on the issue. ‘Everyone is affected by the care services. And a referendum about such an important issue where so much is going wrong is only logical,’ Heerts told news agency ANP.


Ministers are in the process of switching responsibility for long-term care from national to local government.

At the same time, entitlements are being cut and nursing homes closed down. Friends and family will be expected to do more to help people needing assistance to remain in their own homes, the government says.

Women’s organisations argue they will bear the brunt of the job losses. At the same time, women will also be at the forefront of picking up the pieces and carrying out unpaid care duties, Dorenda Gerts, chairwoman of the Women’s Council told Trouw on Monday.p>


‘This is a game between state, local councils and healthcare providers,’ she said. ‘The impact on people does not come into it.’ The Women’s Council represents 55 different organisations and is holding a debate on the changes in the care industry in The Hague on Monday.

VU University professor Tineke Abma told Trouw that despite the rosy picture painted by politicians ‘in practice the future does not look too rosy, particularly for women’.

The entire shift in responsibility is like a military operation, she said. ‘The moral purpose, creating a more caring society, is disappearing into the background,’ she said.

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