Social Workers demand radical measures to redistribute wealth and opportunity
Delegates attending the annual European meeting of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) in Armenia renewed their call for a more equitable response to the global financial crisis.
European President, Nicolai Paulsen, said “EU policies and those of most member states acknowledge the importance of securing more equal societies. However despite the growth that preceded the current financial crisis the solidarity and robust measures necessary to further this objective have yet to be achieved and the gap between the rich and the poor in most countries has widened considerably.
As social workers we view such levels of inequality as a serious threat to the future success and well-being of all citizens. It is imperative that the EU takes a decisive stance in advocating the redistributive measures that are so urgently required in most European countries.
The driving force for change must be the collective needs of all citizens. The current crisis is a direct result of irresponsible financial systems that disregard the importance of social investment and are characterised by self-interest, greed and excess.
The financial crisis offered an opportunity to take positive steps towards redressing this imbalance. However to date most of the austerity measures have impacted more harshly on those individuals and sectors of society who are already disadvantaged than on those who continue to lead lavish lifestyles.
Failure to reverse such a trend will prove more costly in terms of human suffering and avoidable expenditure for many years to come. The workload of social workers has increased as a direct result of the financial crisis. This is not sustainable and is putting both service users and those providing essential care services at serious risk.
Social workers are responsible for protecting children and vulnerable adults from exploitation and supporting all citizens at times of crisis. It is essential that they are adequately supported and provided with appropriate working conditions.
We believe that the countries of Europe have sufficient resources to meet the fundamental right of all citizens to receive care and support at times of need and that all that is required is for individual Governments to adopt a fairer system of taxation and accord essential health and welfare services the priority they deserve.
29th April 2012
Contact: Nicolai Paulsen, President of the IFSW European Region [International Federation of Social Workers – Europe e.V.
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International Federation of Social Workers
Fédération Internationale des Assistants Sociaux
Federación Internacional de Trabajadores Sociales
IFSW Europe e.V.