(March 2017) Public services union JHL is calling for an extra pay increase for sectors dominated by women. The union chair Päivi Niemi-Laine said:"We need a separate round on top of the general increase. Women-dominated sectors have been kept in check and now we have to ensure that purchasing power remains strong in women-led fields." The union argues that action needs to be taken to address the persistent gender pay gap and that public salaries are being effectively cut by a decision to reduce holiday pay as part of the competitiveness deal negotiated last year.
Collective Bargaining, Low pay/minimum wages, Embassy and household staff, Women & Gender Equality, Economic Policy
(April 2017) The BDDSz childcare workers' trade union is supporting the ETUC's pay rise campaign. The union sees that many of the headline demands of the campaign - tackling low pay and the gender pay gap - fit with the union's priorities and it is encouraging members to show their support.
(June 2017) Embassy, tourist office and other international staff around the world are taking strike action to secure pay rises and end a long-term pay freeze that has seen wages in some countries fall to below national minima. Unions are looking for a 20% pay increase, arguing that in some countries inflation has meant a 40% loss of purchasing power for some workers. Action has taken place or is planned in several countries including Canada, Sweden, the United States and Argentina.
The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have called a strike on 16 October involving workers in the government's overseas services. The strike is in protest at the freezing of salaries for the 7000 workers in the service and increasingly precarious employment conditions. The unions say that the strike is necessary as there has been no response to their demands since a meeting a meeting in June and despite a number of other protests and actions so far in 2017.
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
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
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
Tackling gender segregation, low pay and (un)equal opportunities through collective bargaining and inclusive public services
Low pay in female dominated sectors, gender-differences in precarious employment, uneven distribution of unpaid care work, persistent pay gap – what connects these issues is that they are all linked to and/or are reinforced by gender segregation on the labour market.
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
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.