It has been a long-standing tradition of European studies of paid domestic labor to consider the former socialist countries as a source of cheap, predominantly female, domestic labor for the countries of Western Europe. As an allusion to the Iron Curtain, which separated two different worlds, the concept of the Care Curtain of Europehas been actively developed. This curtain draws an imaginary boundary or global division of labor between the postsocialist and the rest of Europe, where the former donates care and the latter receives it. For many, this model of movement of carefrom East to West has been the only possible research subject in the realm of paiddomestic labor.
This article examines how family and care policies related to childcare frame formal and informal care, including the status of work and positions of workers who perform unregulated childcare in private households in Slovenia. Within the conceptual frame of (de)familization of childcare, current childcare policies in Slovenia are analyzed and the peculiarities of the Slovenian situation compared to other Central and Eastern Europeancountries are pointed to: an informal childcare market characterized by live-out arrangementsand high standards of individual childcare, performed by native retired women and students. The empirical material analyzed in the article incorporates results from two qualitative studies conducted in Slovenia researching informal paid care work and the processes of the relocation of childcare, focusing particularly on the intersections of informal (both paid and unpaid) and formal childcare.
After the adoption in 2011 of ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers,national campaigns for ratification took different organizational forms in different countries. While in some cases trade unions organized domestic workers, in others domestic workers were represented by NGO s, and in yet others alliances between different organizational forms developed. Based on Shireen Ally’s classifications of domestic worker organizing, this article defines the case of the Czech Republic as following an associational model. The article explains the lack of union involvement in demanding ratification by referring to the postsocialist legacies of trade union organizing, but also by the fact that domestic workers do not feel that trade unions can represent their rights. This is not only because of a lack of knowledge about tradeunions or of not seeing trade unions as being able to represent self-employed or informal workers, but because their identity aligns better with organizing based on migration status and gender than on class.