ETUC Resolution on Gender Pay Transparency Directive


ETUC Resolution on Gender Pay Transparency Directive

Adopted at the Executive Committee Meeting of 22-23 October 2019


Pay transparency reveals the pay structures of an organisation and enables trade unions to take action to address persistent pay gaps. Pay transparency means that every worker knows how much they and their co-workers, managers and CEOs make. Pay transparency means that gender biases and discrimination, even if unconscious, are stripped away as everyone can see their effects laid out numerically in the cold light of day.  Pay transparency means that workers and their unions are provided with information about all the pay, bonuses and additional benefits paid throughout the  organisation, it provides information on the tasks and skills relevant to job evaluation for the purpose of establishing equal pay for work of equal value, it guarantees that workers are free to discuss their pay and gagging clauses and threats against workers who discuss their pay are prevented.

Pay transparency can play a crucial role in ensuring substantial progress in addressing the gender pay gap. It helps unveiling the systematic undervaluation of women’s work at the heart of the persistent gender pay inequalities. It highlights the feminisation-segregation of occupations and the insufficient appreciation and remuneration of the work performed by women in specific jobs or whole sectors.  Pay transparency can support trade unions’ bargaining strategies to reduce unfair and/or unnecessarily large pay differentials between groups of workers, as well as to better tackle low pay in general.

Such pay transparency is lacking in practice in number of European countries that is why the ETUC is backing the commitment made by the incoming President Mrs Von der Leyen, that in her first 100 days she will bring forward a proposal for pay transparency to address the gender pay gap. To meet this commitment the Commission will need to bring forward a Directive that will require Member States to introduce measures that oblige  all employers, in both private and public sectors to adopt full pay transparency policies and practices, it will also need to prevent certain practices that work against the achievement of equal pay. For the Directive to bring about real change it must also empower workers and their unions to collectively bargain for “Positive Action” on foot of the pay transparency information. It is essential that collective bargaining is supported so that it can play its essential role to effectively implement the principle of equal pay.

The ETUC is calling for a Directive that will

  • require all employers, in both public and private sectors, to adopt pay transparency policies and practices; including a requirement to produce pay audits and annual action plans covering all aspects of pay equality including the gender pay gap;
  • support unions to engage in discussions with employers to address the pay gap including through positive action measures;
  • promote and strengthen the right to negotiate and conclude collective agreements; including for the modalities of pay transparency in an organisation or sector;
  • require employers to provide information to workers and their union on the gender-neutral criteria applied for job evaluation for the purpose of establishing equal pay for equal work within the organisation;
  • ensure that transparency applies throughout organisations and refers to the whole remuneration package, including benefits, bonuses, shares, pension, company car allowances etc along with other information such as the pay ratio between the CEO and the lowest paid workers;
  • ensure that information on gender pay differences includes a break down by gender and age and other discriminations that may multiply the effect of gender discrimination;
  • prevent practices that operate to undermine pay transparency, such as pay secrecy clauses in contracts and other prohibitions placed by employers on workers discussing pay, require that jobs are advertised with the pay scales included in the job advertisement;
  • ensure that employers cannot hide behind Privacy, Data Protection rules or administrative burden claims to avoid pay transparency;
  • ensure the definition of workers is the broader as possible and includes self-employed workers and platform employers;
  • include effective access to justice and sanctions so that employers take action
  • require Member States to deliver analysis and benchmarks for effectively addressing and eradicating pay gaps on the labour market.

The ETUC will lobby for the achievement of a new Directive concerning Gender Pay Transparency that achieves these priority objectives as set out above.

Trade Unions taking action: next steps

Giving concreteness to our principles and guidelines for greater pay transparency must engage all level actors and institutions. The ETUC and its affiliates will pursue our priority objectives via a strategic and comprehensive action plan.

  • The ETUC will intensify the dialogue with the European Commission, addressing both the President Von der Leyen and Commissioners Dalli and Schmit with the demand to ensure they urgently bring forward proposals for an  ambitious, coherent and effective Gender Pay Transparency Directive to bring about genuine improvements with respect to gender pay gap.
  • The ETUC will lobby the European Parliament, via addressing both the relevant parliamentary groups, the key MEPs, and the competent Committees.
  • The ETUC will consistently lobby Member States, addressing the Permanent Representations and the Council in all possible occasions, with the active involvement and support of affiliates.
  • At the same time, national trade unions are requested to engage and put the case for a strong directive on gender pay transparency before their governments, parliaments and all institutional instances who can play a role in promoting fast and meaningful progress of the initiative.
  • ETUC and national trade unions will put gender pay transparency on the agenda for social partners’ discussions at all levels and ensure it will remain a high priority.
  • The ETUC and its affiliates will collaborate and intensify alliances with civil society organisations in order to strongly engage the public opinion and strengthen the possible common demands for greater gender equality.
  • The ETUC will report back to the ETUC Executive Committee on developments.

Please see below (annexes) “Putting the Case for a Pay Transparency Directive”.