COVID-19, Local government, Women & Gender Equality
EPSU joined with the ETUC and other European and global trade union organisations in a strong call for action to end violence against and harassment of women. The ETUC called for laws against workplace harassment to be updated to protect women working from home against online abuse made possible by surveillance techniques being used by employers. EPSU outlined the many ways in which the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on women not only as the backbone of health and social care provision across Europe but also often facing the double burden of dealing with extra childcare while working from
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)
The 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
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.
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.
Over 500 local and regional representatives and experts from 40 different countries came to Bilbao this week to address equality, diversity and inclusion under the banner of ‘differences unite us!’
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
(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.