Tough bargaining in both the state and municipal sectors have ended up in mediation as employers fail to get close to the unions’ key demands. In the state sector unions were already concerned about the increasing gap between the low and high paid and the prospect of pay increases negotiated mainly at local level were seen as increasing the likelihood that the lower paid would again lose out. Public sector unions support the system where industry settlements set a benchmark and note that last year state workers got 0.5% less than the private sector. However, they also argue that the public
Gender pay gap
Closing the gender pay gap
Gender equality is absolutely central to EPSU’s work as we fight to defend public services for the millions of women who rely on them and to tackle inequality faced by women working in those services. EPSU and its affiliates have focused on the need to reduce the gender pay as well as the other manifestations of gender equality in pensions and employment. An important factor in public services is the need to recognise the value of many jobs, like those in eldercare and childcare that are predominantly done by women and that have been seriously and unjustifiably undervalued for many years. This briefing, prepared for EPSU's 2019 Congress outlines some of EPSU's main activities on gender equality. EPSU has published research on the gender pay gap in the public services as well as the problem of low pay in sectors dominated by women. In 2021 EPSU is publishing the results of a research project on Closing the gender pay gap in public services in the context of austerity, with 20+ case studies (January 2021) and a briefing on “equal pay for equal work: the importance of gender neutral job classification and evaluation” (March 2021).
Fifty-one public service unions are backing a further call on the government to engage in tripartite negotiations to tackle the gender pay gap. The recently concluded three-year public sector agreements include specific amounts to reduce the gap, as did the previous agreements in 2018. However, the unions argue that this is simply not enough to properly address the problem and that the economic constraints on the normal collective bargaining process prevent action on the scale necessary to make real progress. The 51 trade unions that represent well over half a million employees in
Members of the DSR nurses’ union have voted to reject the proposed collective agreement for 2021-23 negotiated for local and regional government. The voting process is currently being carried out in other public sector unions and the full result won’t be know until around 21 April. The DSR argues that nurses have been left behind in terms of pay when taking account of their level of education, responsibilities and tasks. Furthermore, the pandemic has meant extensive extra work for a great many nurses and the increased wage costs have had a negative impact as a result of the regulation scheme
After considerable delay the European Commission published its draft directive on pay transparency which the ETUC welcomed as having many good principles but lacking the real tools to make it work in practice. While the ETUC expects the directive to reduce secrecy on pay, it is concerned that pay audits and action plans will only apply to organisations with over 250 employees. The ETUC is also critical of the fact that the directive allows employers to define which jobs to use in comparisons of equal pay for work of equal value and refers throughout to ‘workers representatives’ instead of
Public sector workers will be covered by two new three-year agreements running from 1 April to the end of March 2024. The agreements covering municipal and state sector workers both have an overall value of 6.75% of the pay bill over the three years but the amounts are distributed differently. In the municipal agreement there will be a 5.02% general increase but there will be additional amounts allocated to address low pay, equal pay, recruitment and organisational issues, taking the overall increase to 5.94%. In the state sector there will be a 4.42% pay rise over the three years, with
The ETUC is publishing examples of pay inequality from around in Europe in its campaign to put pressure on the European Commission to deliver on its promise of a pay transparency directive. The ETUC’s first examples from the manufacturing sector clearly how women are paid less even when their jobs require the same levels of skill and physical effort as those of men. The ETUC also points out that the Covid crisis has exposed the deep-rooted bias behind wages for professions dominated by women, with carers and cleaners recognised as ‘essential’ despite being amongst the lowest paid. ETUC (EN+FR)
The latest global wage report from the International Labour Organisation reveals the main trends in pay and minimum wages, highlighting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of this year. It notes a downward pressure on the level or growth rate of average wages in two thirds of the countries for which recent data are available. In other countries, including France and Italy, average wages increased, largely artificially as a reflection of the substantial job losses among lower-paid workers. The report also shows that women workers and low-paid workers generally have been
The ETUC has highlighted strike action by 600000 cleaners across Italy as part of its campaign to pressure the European Commission not to delay publishing draft proposals on pay transparency. The cleaners were striking over the failure of the employers in the sector to negotiate a collective agreement, seven years after the last one expired. With women dominating the low-paid cleaning workforce there is a major case to be made for action on pay equality along with proper recognition of their skills and the risks they have been taking during the current pandemic. ETUC (EN)
In an unusual move the ETUC has published its own draft equal pay directive to put pressure on the European Commission to deliver on its commitment to produce legislation to improve pay transparency. The draft includes provisions calling for a ban on pay secrecy clauses in contracts so that workers can discuss pay; requirements to release of information on job evaluation for the purpose of establishing equal pay for work of equal value; require all employers produce pay information audits and annual action plans on pay equality; and support trade unions to negotiate with employers to tackle
The FOA trade union – the largest in public services – has set out its main demands that will be discussed by public service unions in the lead up to negotiations for the local and regional government agreement that expires at the end of March 2021. The union wants to see a flat-rate rather than a percentage wage increase. An increase set in Kroner would benefit lower-paid occupations which are dominated by women and so contribute to reducing the gender pay gap. Another key demand is increased training provision focused on unskilled workers which will help deliver greater job security. The
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.
14 June marked the anniversary of the massive mobilisation and strike action of women workers across the country to highlight persistent gender inequality. Latest figures show a gender pay gap of close to 20% and an even higher pensions gap of nearly a third. With major mobilisations impossible in the current situation, a week of online and local actions were organised in the week beginning 8 June to highlight the urgent need for action to tackle inequality.
The ETUC used an event in Brussels on 25 February to underline the need for legislation to end pay secrecy clauses, deliver compulsory annual pay audits and the right for workers to request gender pay information from their employers. While information helps, the ETUC also stresses that it is not enough to end inequality in pay and that a directive is needed to empower women workers and their unions to negotiate the changes needed to ensure equal pay in the workplace. Representatives of EPSU joined the action.