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)
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 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.
Time to end the secrecy! The European trade union movement calls for immediate action to close the gender pay gap
On Tuesday, EPSU joined representatives from ETUC and other European trade unions and trade union federations in a visual demonstration to demand concrete measures to combat gender discrimination and to ensure gender pay transparency.
A new report by VIVE, the Danish Centre for Social Science Research, provides further confirmation that pay inequality is a major structural problem facing the public services and particularly the care and social service sectors. The research shows that average wages in a sector fall as the proportion of women workers rises and that an annual average salary of DKK 30000 in a sector dominated by men falls to DKK 24150 in a sector dominated by women. Public services unions FOA, BUPL, SL and the cartel of health unions managed to negotiate a specific fund to tackle pay inequality in the 2018
The Kommunal municipal workers' union has decided not to follow the wage coordination policy agreed by the LO trade union confederation. The union says that urgent action is needed to tackle staff shortages in childcare, health and other welfare services and that if it followed the LO target then workers in those sectors would only get an extra SEK 17 (EUR1.60). For Kommunal it is also important to address low pay in sectors dominated by women and the LO guideline would reduce the gender pay gap by only 0.1%.
21 October is marked as equal pay day in Austria where the gender pay gap is one of the biggest in Europe at 19.7%. This is based on a full-time woman worker getting an average of EUR 41785 compared to EUR 52033 for a man. This is the equivalent of women working for free for 72 days - hence setting the date as 21 October. Unions highlight the problems of part-time work and unpaid care as contributing to the problem. While 47% of women work part time only 11% of men do.
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
Public investment in the social services workforce to deliver inclusive growth - EPSU at the 2019 Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth
EPSU speaks at the 2019 Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth Public and advocates for social dialogue in the field of social services and public investment in the social services workforce in order to deliver inclusive growth.
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.