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Launch of the Federation of European Social Employers

The Federation of European Social Employers (FESE) was set-up and launched last Friday in Brussels. FESE will aim to take part in European Social Dialogue, represent social services Employers towards the European institutions and contribute to a more social and inclusive Europe. The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) has been actively engaged in helping national Employers set-up FESE over the past few years and fully welcomes the Federation’s creation. 

20th October 2017 marked the launch of the Federation of European Social Employers (FESE), representing major Employer organisations in the field of social services in Europe.
EASPD has facilitated the creation of FESE for several years, to help the sector’s Employers be represented at European level, in view of taking part in European Social Dialogue. Luk Zelderloo, Secretary General EASPD, welcomes FESE as “an important new player in the EU scene. The social sector is Europe’s biggest job creator; but it also faces several challenges such as staff shortages. Together with Social NGOs in civil dialogue, FESE can help to bring such discussions in European Social Dialogue structures too”.

The Social Services sector is a major job creator in Europe, employing over 10 million staff and creating over 1.8 million new jobs in Europe since 2008. Together with health services, the social services sector represents 7% of the total economic output in the EU 28. With changing demographics and family patterns, the social services sector is expected to grow significantly over the next few decades.
The newly established Federation of European Social Employers will aim at setting-up, together with workers’ representatives, a sectoral European social dialogue committee, with participation in EU cross-sectoral social dialogue -through pre-existing structures-being an important objective.

In his opening speech at the European Economic and Social Committee, the newly elected President of FESE, Gregor Tomschizek, announced that “the creation of sectoral social dialogue structures for social services at European level is a must for Europe! It will allow employer and employee representatives in the sector to lay down on the table issues of concern and provide a space for collective assessment of the challenges faced. This will help the sector improve its attractiveness for staff, especially for young people, and improve the quality of the care and support services we provide”.
FESE will also strive to provide a voice to Social Services Employers’ at European level. The objective is to help the European Union take full advantage of the sector’s opportunities and contribution towards social cohesion, job creation and inclusive growth in the years to come. 

Stéphane Racz, Vice President of FESE, stated that “Social Services are the biggest job creators in Europe today. FESE will help provide a direct line between the European institutions, their policies and the thousands of Social Services Employers in Europe. That is our ambition. Helping to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights, for instance, could be a great start.”
The creation of FESE was achieved through the “Promoting Employers’ Social Services in Social dialogue III” project, supported by the European Union and coordinated by the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD). The PESSIS III project also included important research on how social dialogue structures were set-up in the sector throughout Europe. 

Jiri Horecky, Vice President of FESE, stressed that the “PESSIS III project demonstrates that there are still large differences as to how social dialogue structures are set-up throughout Europe. FESE also wants to work at national level to help strengthen Employers’ structures for the sector. Stronger Employers’ structures in social services at national and European level are essential if Europe is to maximise the potential of social service providers in supporting and empowering elderly people, persons with disabilities, children and other disadvantaged groups”.

Note to Editors: 

The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities is a non-profit European umbrella organization, established in 1996, and currently representing over 15,000 social and health services for persons with disabilities. EASPD advocates for effective and high-quality disability-related services in the field of education, employment and individualised support, in line with the UN CRPD principles, which could bring benefits not only to persons with disabilities, but to society as a whole.

For more information, please contact: 

Thomas Bignal
EASPD Policy Advisor

T. +32 2 233 27 23