The Kommunal municipal workers' union has decided not to follow the wage coordination policy agreed by the LO trade union confederation. The union says that urgent action is needed to tackle staff shortages in childcare, health and other welfare services and that if it followed the LO target then workers in those sectors would only get an extra SEK 17 (EUR1.60). For Kommunal it is also important to address low pay in sectors dominated by women and the LO guideline would reduce the gender pay gap by only 0.1%.
Social Services, Women & Gender Equality
Just over 300 members of the Fagforbundet and FO health and welfare trade unions in three hospitals began strike action on 29 May in protest at unfair pension arrangements. The unions, among several coordinated by the LO confederation in its LO Stat group, are claiming full pension rights from day one and from the first Krone earnt in line with the arrangements in the municipal sector. At the moment employees working less than 20% of normal full-time hours are not able to build up pension rights. The unions point out that this is clearly gender discrimination as 75% of those affected are women
At its 2018 November Plenary, the EP adopted a resolution on “Care services in the EU for improved gender equality”. EPSU had contributed to it with a written contribution and in direct exchanges with the rapporteur, MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen, EPP, Finland.
The solidly supported two-day strike by around 8000 local government workers in Glasgow was successful in getting the council back to the negotiating table. The strike was over the council's failure to deal with longstanding demands for equal pay for a wide range of low-paid women workers in care, catering, cleaning, school support and other services. The strike on 23-24 October was called by the GMB and UNISON trade unions and UNISON now reports that initial talks with the council have been positive and constructive. EPSU, PSI and many affiliates sent messages of support.
Over 8000 workers employed by Glasgow City Council in Scotland took strike action on 23-24 October to put pressure on their employer to deliver equal pay. The dispute dates back as far as 2006 when a new pay scheme was supposed to end to pay inequality based on gender. Instead, its implementation introduced new discriminatory measures. The action involved women in a wide range of jobs, including school administration workers, learning support workers in schools, nursery workers, home carers, cleaners and catering workers.
Municipal workers' union Kommunal is highlighting a new report that contrasts workers' views of pay and conditions in the female-dominated care sector with those of workers in the male-dominated construction sector. In a wide range of assessments the views of care workers are much more negative than their counterparts in construction. While more than half of care workers have thought about changing jobs this applies to only 38% in construction while only 33% think that staffing levels are adequate in the care sector compared to 60% in construction. Half of care workers wouldn't recommend their
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has produced a new report arguing for a doubling of investment in the care sector to prevent a global care crisis. It says that investment on this scale could create 269 million new jobs by 2030 and provide a major boost to women's employment while addressing massive gender inequality in unpaid care. The ILO estimates that over 600 million women want paid employment but are prevented from entering the labour market because of their caring responsibilities. The report underlines the need for a "high road" to increase care provision which means
EPSU affiliates around Europe have been developing collective bargaining policies, using legal action and pushing for legislative change to help them address the persistent problem of low pay in sectors dominated by women. In a report commissioned by EPSU, She works hard for the money, and in a presentation to EPSU's Quality Employment conference,Torsten Müller, senior researcher at the European Trade Union Institute, provides a number of examples from Finland, Sweden, Germany, the UK and other countries where public service trade unions have used collective bargaining to improve pay in health
Municipal workers' union Kommunal has negotiated a new two-year agreement with private care providers which includes general pay increases, additions for low-paid workers and several provisions on working time. The agreement follows the main municipal deal that provided for increases of 2% in 2018 and 2.3% in 2019 but in companies where average pay is below SEK 24000 (EUR 2330) a month in 2018 and below SEK 24480 (EUR 2380) in 2019, increases will be implemented as flat-rate amounts of SEK 490 (EUR 47) in 2018 and SEK 563 (EUR 55) in 2019. Assistant nurses will also get an extra 0.5%. Other
The public services unions Fagforbundet and Delta and the NSF nurses' union have signed a declaration with the KS municipal employers' organisation calling for further co-operation to create a culture of full-time work in the sector. The unions want to see a reduction in part-time work which leads to part time workers, the vast majority of whom are women, losing out, particularly in terms of their pension benefits. While some steps have been taken, the unions are still concerned that there is too much part-time work, especially in the health and social care sectors. A website has been set up
Negotiations covering the public sector are due to begin in early January and unions have included action on equal pay as a priority. They want the employers to agree higher increases for sectors dominated by women. Unions say that comparing similar jobs requiring the same qualifications and training shows that those in sectors dominated by women are paid less than in a sector dominated by men. The FOA public services union argues this is an historic demand that requires coordinated action and it is pleased that has got the support of the many other unions in the public sector bargaining group