Several EPSU affiliates are planning symbolic strike actions on International Women’s Day and many will be organizing events and rallies. Others will focus on politicians and social media campaigns. We will all be active on this symbolic day and by using our common symbols, logos and slogans we can show the incredible solidarity in our movement for the demands of women. Europe has made little progress over the last decade and the meagre initiatives of the European Commission to promote a better work-life balance are opposed by employers and governments especially in the European union.
EPSU wants to put fighting for equality and ending discrimination back on the EU agenda. Our Women’s conference demanded a New Gender Contract. Women in the EU earn almost 17 per cent less than men and that must stop! Working women receive only 51 per cent of what the average male pensioner receives. We want to end the gender pension gap and female poverty. Women and men in public services are standing together to value the work of women. Every day we are active in our workplaces, our bargaining and political work trying to change the situation. On 8 March we will show what we do and focus attention on our fight to #Endthegap, to #Breakingwiththepast. As our Conference underlined, much work remains to tackle major areas of inequalities such as the gender pay and pension gaps, to address work-life balance, to promote the value of care and care services in which so many women work and on which many women depend, to stop the violence against women and to ensure gender mainstreaming in all policies. Please let us know what you plan to do on the day.
We have been busy on other issues including:
- with the publication of the Drinking Water Directive there is a new focus on the importance of the human right to water and sanitation and the role of public water;
- we welcomed the water workers’ union of Athens to our offices and will support them and the people in their struggle against the privatization of the water company;
- we worked on tax issues with the establishment of a new European Parliament committee, also meeting MEPs about tax avoidance by McDonalds and other companies;
- we have also been informed that the decision of the European Commission on the social partner agreement on information and consultation rights is imminent. We will keep you posted.
I wish all a very active and combative Women’s Day on 8 March and every day of the year. Let’s go all out to end inequality!