A European First - Social partners publish equality & diversity toolkit

The trade unions and Eurelectric for the employers published a toolkit on equality and diversity during a seminar 14 December 2006, Brussels. The toolkit is based on extensive research and interviews with management and trade un ion representatives of a large number of companies. It offers concrete and practical examples for managers and trade unions how equality and diversity can be addressed in Europe' s electric utilities.

The EPSU Deputy General Secretary welcomed the toolkit. “There is still much inequality in our traditionally male dominated industry. This practical instrument can assist in addressing equal opportunities in European electricity companies. We expect that the companies and local trade union representatives discuss and agree how to use the toolkit to achieve equality.”

Representatives of EPSU affiliated unions in EDF, ENEL, Vattenfall, Statkraft, ESB, Eon Hungary, Electrabel Poland, United Utilities have been interviewed. Karin Harder (Verdi) and Siobhan Browne (ESBOA) as well as the EPSU Deputy General Secretary participated in the Steering Committee overseeing the project.

The social partners will discuss a further follow up to the project. Elements which were raised in the discussion included: ageing of the work force, implementing the toolkit, more visibility to the principles


EPSU has promoted equal opportunities since the start of the informal social dialogue in 1996. A study was done in 1998 regarding the impact of restructuring on women. The recommendations of that project were followed up in the workprogramme of the social partners agreed in November 2000. The social partners agreed an extensive equality and diversity statement in 2003 and launched a further study. This study was done by the University of Cardiff and formed the background to a further set of recommendations and the project to develop a toolkit.

For more information:

- The Equality and Diversity Agreement

- The Cardiff University Equality Study

- The Joint Press Release of the social partners

March 2007,

by Jane Pillinger, Dublin

- The toolkit is also available at: www.eurelectric.org/EqualityDiversity/index.htm.