Women & Gender Equality
Jul. 11, 2019 Following the national women's strike last month, the vpod/ssp public services union has set out a range of demands to tackle gender inequality across the public services and with particular measures in the childcare, health and education sectors. The union wants to see equal pay auditing of all public employers with the involvement of the union and an across-the-board pay increase for occupations and sectors dominated by women - particularly care jobs. Along with this the union underlines the importance of stable and reliable working hours and a range of measures in relation to maternity and parental leave and leave to look after sick dependents. It is also calling for action to tackle harassment and violence.
May. 29, 2019 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. The unions estimate that the cost of providing pensions to this group of workers is only around 0.1% of the total hospital pay bill.
Apr. 16, 2019 The vpod/ssp public services trade union along with the SGB/USS trade union confederation is continuing to build for the national women's strike planned for 14 June. The aim of the strike is to address 10 major issues including the gender pay gap, work-life balance, working hours that are either too short or excessively long, sexual harassment and violence, inadequate pensions and the undervaluation of women's work. Along with strike action the unions will be organising events and actions at workplaces and towns and cities across the country.
Mar. 15, 2019 The health conference of the vpod public service union has called for action to tackle the stress, long working hours, involuntary part-time work and low pay in the sector which is part of the persistent discrimination faced by women workers. The union wants to see a revaluation of pay of health and care jobs to recognise the arduousness and increased responsibilities of many occupations. Vpod is also calling for major improvements to work-life balance, reductions in working time, better shift planning, possibilities for retirement from 60 and provision of necessary training. The union says that urgent action is needed to address staff shortages.
Mar. 15, 2019 A new opinion poll shows that 77% of voters think that there should be a political solution to the persistent problem of gender pay inequality. The survey was commissioned by several public service unions working together in the Equal Pay Alliance. They argue that while there has been some success in reducing the gender pay gap, currently at around 13%, it would take another 50 years to achieve equality unless more substantial action is taken. The unions highlight historical reasons for lower pay in sectors dominated by women dating from public sector pay changes in the 1960s. They argue this requires a political commitment to fund changes to pay particularly affecting workers in the health and care sectors.
Mar. 15, 2019 A new report from the PCS civil service union reveals considerable pay inequality across government linked to the proportion of men/women in each department. For example, a civil service executive officer, in a majority male department is paid £3771 (EUR 4415) (13%) more than an executive officer in a majority female department while a civil service administrative officer, in a majority male department is paid £2675 (EUR 3130) (12.6%) more than an executive officer in a majority female department. The union attributes the problem to the delegation of pay negotiations to departmental level and contrasts this to the single pay structures across health and local government.
Feb. 14, 2019The FSC-CCOO public services federation has expressed its concern about the lack of equality plans across regional and provincial authorities. In a meeting of the Committee that deals with equality plans it was revealed that only six of the autonomous communities have a plan in place. The 11 others have no plan although may have taken some measures that would feature in a plan. The situation in the 50 provincial authorities is worse with very few - only nine having - a plan with a further six taking the first steps towards adopting one. The union has called for proper monitoring of the introduction and implementation of plans across the public administration, noting also that some have not been further developed or put into effect.
Feb. 12, 2019
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.
Jan. 17, 2019 The UNISON, GMB and Unite trade unions have welcomed an agreement in principle to end the long-running equal pay dispute at Glasgow Council in Scotland. Over 8000 council workers took strike action last October to put pressure on the municipality to end the pay discrimination faced by many women workers in jobs such as cleaning, care and catering. The agreement finalises the principals and structure of any payout to thousands of women but the detail of individual payments still has to be calculated and agreed.
Nov. 23, 2018 EPSU has joined with the PSI, ETUC, ITUC and other labour movement organisations in calling for an International Labour Organisation Convention against gender-based violence at the workplace. The call comes on the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which takes place on 25 November every year. A draft text is under discussion and could be agreed at the ILO conference next year although the ETUC has concerns that some European governments are trying to get the text watered down.
Nov. 02, 2018 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.
Oct. 25, 2018 Women workers across the country walked out of their workplaces at 14.55 on 24 October to highlight pay inequality as well as raising issues about sexual harassment and violence. The latest statistics show the gender pay gap in Iceland is still 26% and so in a normal 9 to 5 day this is the equivalent of women only being paid up to 14.55. The strike is a longstanding tradition in the country and supported by EPSU's affiliate, BSRB, the confederation of municipal and state employees.