Last month the Wage Structure Committee produce a detailed report on pay in the public services as a basis of a tripartite discussion that is due to begin in the autumn and that will have an impact on negotiations of the next three-year collective agreements in the public sector that will run from April 2024. The committee, with trade union participation, was set up in 2021 as a first step in trying to address the persistent problem of pay inequality across the public services and the major staff shortages across many occupations. The initial reaction of many EPSU affiliates is to welcome the
Gender pay gap
Closing the gender pay gap
Gender equality is absolutely central to EPSU’s work as we fight to defend public services for the millions of women who rely on them and to tackle inequality faced by women working in those services. EPSU and its affiliates have focused on the need to reduce the gender pay as well as the other manifestations of gender equality in pensions and employment. An important factor in public services is the need to recognise the value of many jobs, like those in eldercare and childcare that are predominantly done by women and that have been seriously and unjustifiably undervalued for many years. This briefing, prepared for EPSU's 2019 Congress outlines some of EPSU's main activities on gender equality. EPSU has published research on the gender pay gap in the public services as well as the problem of low pay in sectors dominated by women. In 2021 EPSU is publishing the results of a research project on Closing the gender pay gap in public services in the context of austerity, with 20+ case studies (January 2021) and a briefing on “equal pay for equal work: the importance of gender neutral job classification and evaluation” (March 2021).
EPSU affiliate vpod/ssp is mobilising for the annual feminist strike which takes place on 14 June with actions and protests organised across the country. The strike focuses on the continuing inequalities that women face along other forms of discrimination, sexism, sexual harassment and violence. The union highlights data showing an 18% pay gap across the economy with the public sector at 15.1% below the private sector at 19.5% but the figure for the health sector specifically also at 19.5%. Meanwhile women make up two-thirds of the low paid. The figure for part-time work for women – 58% – is
Research by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) shows that delays in implementing the EU’s newly passed pay transparency directive would cost women workers an average of €17,000 in lost wages. The final text of the directive was adopted by the European Parliament on 30 March. The directive includes a ban on pay secrecy clauses and the right for women workers and their unions to request transparent information on pay. The ETUC is calling on national governments to put the directive into action straight away rather than wait to the final deadline of 2026 to to transpose the directive into
The ETUC has welcomed the compromise between the European Commission, Council and Parliament on the pay transparency directive that should help to deliver equal pay. The ETUC highlights the key elements include a ban on pay secrecy clauses and the right for women workers and their unions to request transparent information on pay; gender-neutral job evaluation schemes, designed with the involvement of trade unions; and trade unions’ rights to collectively bargain to tackle pay discrimination and the undervaluation of work done by women. The ETUC believes that the measures will help to ensure
The International Labour Organisation has published a report that shows that the higher the coverage of employees by collective agreements, the lower the wage differences are. Social Dialogue Report 2022: Collective bargaining for an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery is based on a review of collective agreements and practices in 80 countries and the legal and regulatory frameworks in 125 countries. It also provides evidence that collective bargaining can contribute to narrowing the gender pay gap with over half (59 per cent) the agreements reviewed in the study reflecting a joint
On 5 April the European Parliament (EP) voted in favour of a report on the gender pay transparency directive that includes important improvements to the European Commission’s draft proposal. There will be provisions on the protection of trade union rights for women workers, ensuring they can bargain collectively for equal pay; measures to deliver on the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and a ban on pay secrecy clauses. The ETUC thanked the rapporteurs for their work and called for the swift adoption of the improved directive by the Commission and Council. ETUC Deputy General
The UNISON and GMB trade unions have suspended the strike action that they had planned for 29 and 30 March after Glasgow City Council made significant concessions towards resolving the dispute over equal pay. However, strike action planned for 20 and 21 April remains in place. The dispute arose over the implementation of the 2019 deal on equal pay that delivered significant pay increases for the predominantly female workers in care, catering and cleaning services. The Council has now said the formula agreed in the 2019 deal will be applied to all jobs covered by the agreement and that it will
The Tehy and SuPer trade unions representing nurses and other medical staff have set out plans for strike action to give impetus to the negotiations in health and social services. The two unions want to see positive action on salaries and have set out a five-year rescue programme for the health and social services sector. This includes increases to the basic wage level of 3.6% annually in addition to the normal contract increases that protect purchasing power. With women making up 90% of the care workforce, the unions argue that this is an essential measure to address the persistent gender pay
Thousands of council workers in Glasgow in Scotland could be taking strike action on 29 and 30 March unless the local authority responds to demands settle a dispute over equal pay. In 2019, following a union campaign involving strike action, Glasgow council agreed a £500m settlement of equal pay claims up until March 2018 and included a new pay and grading system to rectify issues of unequal pay, primarily of women. Since then, around 5,500 new claims have been lodged for the period prior to March 2018, with nearly 20,000 claimants waiting on settlements for the period after that. The unions
The ETUC says that, according to the European Commission’s own figures, two thirds of European workers would be excluded from coverage by the pay transparency directive. The current proposal would limit gender pay reporting to organisations with over 250 staff. The impact would be even broader in countries like Estonia and Latvia where higher percentages of workers are employed by small firms and just one in five workers would be covered by the directive. These are also two of the countries with the highest gender pay gaps. Italy (79%), Cyprus (83%) and Greece (88%) are the three countries
An analysis by the ETUC shows that higher minimum wages across Europe could have a massive impact on the gender pay gap. The ETUC has been calling for a double threshold – 50% of the average wage/60% of the median wage – to be used in the directive on Adequate Minimum Wages. If this were in force then the gender pay gap would be cut by 25% in Romania, by 19% in Greece, by 12% in Poland, by 11% in Slovakia and by 10% in Spain and Luxembourg. The ETUC underlines that many women are trapped in underpaid and undervalued jobs and make up 76% of the 49 million care workers in the EU. The pay
The JHL public services union has made clear that in the upcoming pay round it will be seeking pay increases for all the workers it represents across public and private sectors. It argues that moderate pay rises in the public services in the past have been part of a strategy to boost economic growth but now these workers need to benefit from that growth. JHL is also concerned to take further steps to close the gender pay gap and argues strongly that decent wage rises are needed to address staffing shortages.