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 make interim payments to women no later than October 2022. The unions will now enter into three weeks of negotiations over the details.
Unions suspend strike action over equal pay
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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
21 October is marked as equal pay day in Austria where the gender pay gap is one of the biggest in Europe at 19.7%. This is based on a full-time woman worker getting an average of EUR 41785 compared to EUR 52033 for a man. This is the equivalent of women working for free for 72 days - hence setting the date as 21 October. Unions highlight the problems of part-time work and unpaid care as contributing to the problem. While 47% of women work part time only 11% of men do.
The ETUC has expressed alarm about the possible delay in publishing a draft directive on pay transparency. It says that the directive will provide important measures in the fight to reduce the gender pay gap. Without such initiatives, the ETUC has calculated it will take an average of 84 years to achieve equal pay across Europe. In some countries the wait could be even longer - with women in Germany and the Czech Republic having to wait until 2021. In France, the pay gap has closed so slowly over the last 10 years - by 0.1 percentage points - that it would take 1000 years to achieve equal pay.