The latest global wage report from the International Labour Organisation reveals the main trends in pay and minimum wages, highlighting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of this year. It notes a downward pressure on the level or growth rate of average wages in two thirds of the countries for which recent data are available. In other countries, including France and Italy, average wages increased, largely artificially as a reflection of the substantial job losses among lower-paid workers. The report also shows that women workers and low-paid workers generally have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The ILO underlines the importance of the role of minimum wages in protecting workers and the importance of ensuring wider coverage and better enforcement. It also argues that sector collective bargaining is the best way “to re-evaluate the adequacy of wages in some mostly female-dominated low-paid sectors which have proved to be essential and of high social value during the current crisis.”
Global wage report reveals first impact of pandemic on pay
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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
Data from the Wage Indicator pay database covering five countries reveals that many of the key workers who have been on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 are on below)average wages. The research looked at nine jobs in childcare, call centres, retail, nursing, admin, logistics, warehouses and transport in the UK, German, Netherlands, France and Sweden. In the UK all occupations fell below the national average wage while in Germany it was all but one and in the Netherlands all but two. The situation for these workers was better in France and Sweden.
The European Commission’s annual review of Employment and Social Developments in Europe outlines some of the key effects of the pandemic on jobs, employment conditions and social dialogue. It identified uneven regional impacts with the more resilient regions sharing characteristics such as high regional productivity, high level of skilled population levels, big investment in research and development, quality local public institutions and solid digital infrastructure. The impact on national social dialogue and collective bargaining varied with countries with strong social dialogue institutions