EU to agree equal pay for Christmas

Europe has taken an important step towards equal pay for work of equal value today with a final agreement on the pay transparency directive. The ETUC is calling on Member States to follow through and adopt the Directive in the Council before the Christmas break.
Women doing jobs requiring the same levels of skills, education and physical effort as jobs done by men are still being paid around €800 less despite over 45 years of EU equal pay legislation, ETUC research has found.

The compromise between the Commission, Council and Parliament concluded today will help to deliver: 

- A ban on pay secrecy clauses and the right for women workers and their unions to request transparent information on pay;

-  Gender-neutral job evaluation schemes, designed with the involvement of trade unions;

-  Trade unions’ rights to collectively bargain to tackle pay discrimination and the undervaluation of work done by women.

Together, the measures will help to ensure that the value of jobs predominantly done by women, such as care and cleaning work, will be reevaluated in line with similar work done by men.

The directive follows a long-running campaign by trade unions for binding pay transparency measures at a European level and an active campaign by the ETUC to ensure the delayed directive was finally delivered and strengthened, including protests outside the Commission and Parliament.

Although the ETUC is disappointed that the Directive does not adequately set out the way in which labour models are to be protected, it is essential that the implementation and process for transposition allows for the diverse labour market models of collective bargaining to be fully respected.

ETUC General Secretary Esther Lynch said:

“For too long, jobs done predominantly by women have been classed as unskilled, and therefor low paid, even though they require the same levels of skill and physical effort as work done by men which is rightly considered to be skilled.

“The directive agreed today will go a long way to ending this injustice across Europe by providing women and their unions the right to uncover and challenge pay discrimination.

“Women workers have already waited more than 45 years for EU equal pay laws to be enforced and have been hit hardest by energy price rises, so there is no time to waste in putting this new law into action.
“The ETUC calls for the directive to be adopted by the Council under the Czech presidency and will continue campaigning to ensure the quickest and strongest possible implementation by member states.”