Transnational company agreement on Equality

(EPSU Press communication - 7 June 2012) A new transnational company agreement was signed between representatives of the European trade union federations and management of GdfSuez, the French multi-utility company, 5 June 2012, Paris. The agreement aims to define unjustified differences between men and women and remove these to achieve pay equality between men and women and taking account of all salary elements and achieving a better balance between professional and family life. The agreement was approved unanimously by the trade union side following a consultation period.

The agreement was signed by EPSU’s Deputy General Secretary, Jan Willem Goudriaan. He commented: “We expect that this agreement contributes to ensuring equal pay for work of equal value for the men and women working in the company as well as to bring about a better balance in professional and family life. The focus now shifts to the implementation at local level. We expect a high commitment by local management to improve the situation for workers so that the company lives up to its goal to be an employer of reference.”

One of the key elements of the agreement is that companies with more than 150 employees have to develop an annual Equality Plan and consider this together with the staff. Other issues government include:
- Equal pay for work of equal value
- Recruitment
- Training
- Networking for women
- Improving the gender balance in the Employee representation
- Neutralising any negative effects of maternity and parental leave. And to study the long-term consequences in case this is not done.
- The agreement also considers that reorganisations should not have an disproportionately negative impact on women and that contractors and suppliers should respect the non-discrimination policies
- The agreement further puts in place the mechanisms for monitoring and implementing the agreement as well as for a grievance procedure in case there are problems.
- Last but not least the agreement is very clear that it can not be used to lower standards in countries which have already have a higher level of protection, the socalled Non-regression clause. Without such a clause the agreement would not be approved.

GdFSuez employs close to 220,000 workers in activities such as water, waste, energy and energy services. It is active in several European countries such as Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, UK.

The agreement was negotiated with EPSU and EMF/EMCEF (now IndustriAll) on behalf of the unions with membership in the company. It followed the internal rules of the Federations.

- For a full record of the progress with the negotiations
- The text of the agreement is available in several languages: EN-FR-DE-ES-IT-NO-SV-FI-CZ-HU-NL-PL (cboeckx@epsu.org)

For more information contact Pablo Sanchez, 00 32 474 62 66 33 psanchez@epsu.org





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