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3 March, 2014IndustriALL Global Union supports its sister organization, industriAll Europe’s demands for more justice for women on this campaign day.

28 February, on European Equal Pay Day, industriAll Europe issued a strong demand to put an end to the pay gap between men and women in Europe. The wage gap in Europe remains one of the main factors of discrimination against women. On average, women in the EU earn about 17% less per hour than men. In Belgium, Portugal, Slovenia, Poland, Malta and Italy, this figure falls to below 10% but in Estonia and Austria, the difference in pay exceeds 25%.

All of this serves to highlight the limited number of measures being implemented to eradicate these inequalities. For this reason, industriAll Europe and its Equal Opportunities Working Group is strengthening its call for the public authorities to make a greater commitment to eliminate these differences.

Greater equality between women and men would produce benefits for the economy and society in general, contributing to reductions in poverty and increasing women’s income. Businesses can benefit from using the talents and abilities of women more effectively by, for example, assessing the capacities of women and designing policies that reconcile work and family life as well as training and professional development.

There are many reasons for the gender pay gap in the European Union:

Women often work in professions which are not as highly valued as those professions in which men work. And even in male dominated professions, the work carried out by women is often given less recognition and is lower paid.

In addition to shouldering the burden of unpaid housework and childcare, women also make up the majority of part-time workers in Europe. This means that 31.5 % of women work part-time compared with just 8.3 % of men, having a negative impact on the development of their careers, their education, their right to a pension and unemployment benefits.

Women are less represented in managerial positions. Only 12% of women are board members, and just 3% hold positions in management.

The industriAll Europe Equal Opportunities Working Group is putting forward a series of measures and strategies to reduce this gender pay gap, which, far from disappearing, is unfortunately becoming more evident by the day.

Of the various measures and proposals to address the problem, we propose the following:

  • Tackling the pay gap in employment policies
  • Promoting equal pay via collective bargaining and social dialogue
  • Supporting the exchange of good practice at European level
  • Improving and monitoring the implementation of legislation
  • Finding ways to improve the transparency of wage systems in companies
  • Creation of programs and specific actions to increase the number of women in management positions over a period of time
  • Increasing the number of women in positions and sectors where they are not represented, in order to break down stereotypes

These measures should be looked at through the framework of Collective Bargaining and local Works Councils, the European Work Councils and Transnational Agreements, by the workers’ representation, so that it is they who monitor new hires, promotions, training, etc. and ensure compliance in all aspects and equality, in the broadest sense of the word.