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
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).
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.
After 10 weeks of action, the strike coordinated by the DSR nurses’ union was brought to an end by government intervention. This means that a recommendation by the conciliation commission will be imposed even though it had been rejected by a large majority of DSR members. The union argues that the government is deaf to the long-standing demands of nurses over the unfair pay structure in the public sector. Some nurses have continued to take unofficial action despite the imposition of a settlement and the threat of fines if they continue. The union says that the focus now shifts to the work of
The DSR nurses’ union has given notice that it will extend its strike action over pay to more health institutions around the country and it also organised a national demonstration in Copenhagen on 14 August. Members of the union voted to reject the national public sector collective agreement earlier this year because it failed to tackle the longstanding issue of the undervaluing of nursing occupations. The strike began on 14 June and the union has announced five extensions in advance with the latest one planned for 7 September involving a further 281 nurses.
Following the rejection of the mediation proposal last month, nurses have continued their strike action for higher pay. The DSR nursing union membership voted to reject the public sector deal negotiated earlier this year because it failed to address low pay in the sector. The union has been highlighting recent data to support their case including a fall in applications for nursing education to the lowest level since 2013. The union also found that 5% of nurses had left the profession last month because of low pay and overwork and that pay for overtime had cost employers over DKK 500 million in
The DSR nurses’ union organised industrial action on Saturday 19 June following a two to one membership vote to reject a conciliator's mediation proposal for a new agreement. Earlier this year the DSR membership rejected the main municipal and regional government collective agreement, calling for a higher pay rise for nurses. The conciliation process failed to deliver a result that the membership could endorse and so action involving around 5000 nurses went ahead. The union argues that the health services have been starved of investment and nurses have faced increasing work pressure and
The FOA trade union has welcomed the government decision to set up a committee to examine the problem of pay inequality. FOA has been part of a large group of trade unions that have been pushing for new measures to achieve pay equality. While collective bargaining has been able to deliver some improvements public service unions argue that the problem requires a broader political approach. The committee will analyse the pay gap across all sectors and is due to report in May 2022.
Tough bargaining in both the state and municipal sectors have ended up in mediation as employers fail to get close to the unions’ key demands. In the state sector unions were already concerned about the increasing gap between the low and high paid and the prospect of pay increases negotiated mainly at local level were seen as increasing the likelihood that the lower paid would again lose out. Public sector unions support the system where industry settlements set a benchmark and note that last year state workers got 0.5% less than the private sector. However, they also argue that the public