The ETUC says that, according to the European Commission’s own figures, two thirds of European workers would be excluded from coverage by the pay transparency directive. The current proposal would limit gender pay reporting to organisations with over 250 staff. The impact would be even broader in countries like Estonia and Latvia where higher percentages of workers are employed by small firms and just one in five workers would be covered by the directive. These are also two of the countries with the highest gender pay gaps. Italy (79%), Cyprus (83%) and Greece (88%) are the three countries
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).
An analysis by the ETUC shows that higher minimum wages across Europe could have a massive impact on the gender pay gap. The ETUC has been calling for a double threshold – 50% of the average wage/60% of the median wage – to be used in the directive on Adequate Minimum Wages. If this were in force then the gender pay gap would be cut by 25% in Romania, by 19% in Greece, by 12% in Poland, by 11% in Slovakia and by 10% in Spain and Luxembourg. The ETUC underlines that many women are trapped in underpaid and undervalued jobs and make up 76% of the 49 million care workers in the EU. The pay
The JHL public services union has made clear that in the upcoming pay round it will be seeking pay increases for all the workers it represents across public and private sectors. It argues that moderate pay rises in the public services in the past have been part of a strategy to boost economic growth but now these workers need to benefit from that growth. JHL is also concerned to take further steps to close the gender pay gap and argues strongly that decent wage rises are needed to address staffing shortages.
After 10 weeks of action, the strike coordinated by the DSR nurses’ union was brought to an end by government intervention. This means that a recommendation by the conciliation commission will be imposed even though it had been rejected by a large majority of DSR members. The union argues that the government is deaf to the long-standing demands of nurses over the unfair pay structure in the public sector. Some nurses have continued to take unofficial action despite the imposition of a settlement and the threat of fines if they continue. The union says that the focus now shifts to the work of
The DSR nurses’ union has given notice that it will extend its strike action over pay to more health institutions around the country and it also organised a national demonstration in Copenhagen on 14 August. Members of the union voted to reject the national public sector collective agreement earlier this year because it failed to tackle the longstanding issue of the undervaluing of nursing occupations. The strike began on 14 June and the union has announced five extensions in advance with the latest one planned for 7 September involving a further 281 nurses.
Following the rejection of the mediation proposal last month, nurses have continued their strike action for higher pay. The DSR nursing union membership voted to reject the public sector deal negotiated earlier this year because it failed to address low pay in the sector. The union has been highlighting recent data to support their case including a fall in applications for nursing education to the lowest level since 2013. The union also found that 5% of nurses had left the profession last month because of low pay and overwork and that pay for overtime had cost employers over DKK 500 million in
The DSR nurses’ union organised industrial action on Saturday 19 June following a two to one membership vote to reject a conciliator's mediation proposal for a new agreement. Earlier this year the DSR membership rejected the main municipal and regional government collective agreement, calling for a higher pay rise for nurses. The conciliation process failed to deliver a result that the membership could endorse and so action involving around 5000 nurses went ahead. The union argues that the health services have been starved of investment and nurses have faced increasing work pressure and
The FOA trade union has welcomed the government decision to set up a committee to examine the problem of pay inequality. FOA has been part of a large group of trade unions that have been pushing for new measures to achieve pay equality. While collective bargaining has been able to deliver some improvements public service unions argue that the problem requires a broader political approach. The committee will analyse the pay gap across all sectors and is due to report in May 2022.
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
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)