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
Gender pay gap, Europe
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 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.
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.