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Ahead of the European Commission’s publication of its proposals for binding rules on gender pay transparency, EFFAT took part today in a visual street theatre action in front of the European Commission building to “end the secrecy” over pay.

With the initiative, organised by the ETUC and supported by its sister European Trade Union Federations, the European trade union movement called on the European Commission to ensure pay transparency and take up concrete measures to tackle the 16% average hourly pay gap between men and women in Europe – a measure which reaches as high as 28% in Estonia.

Today specific demands to the European Commission for a pay transparency directive included:

  • a requirement on employers to be transparent about pay scales in job adverts
  • banning pay secrecy clauses in contracts
  • compulsory annual pay audits (including all bonuses) backed up with fines for non-compliance
  • the right of workers to request pay data of colleagues, including gender pay information
  • support for collective bargaining as the best way to eliminate the gender pay gap
  • preventing employers hiding behind privacy, data protection or administrative burden to avoid pay transparency.

Representing sectors with a gender pay gap that touches almost 29%, leading to precarious work, work-life imbalances and long-term poverty for women in older age, EFFAT is at the forefront of this battle.

In its “Recommendations on Equal Pay”, EFFAT speaks strongly in favour of closing the gender pay gap in order to:

  • promote social justice and equal opportunities through the promotion of women’s independence – benefit employers and workers through the creation of quality jobs which, in turn, increase employee satisfaction and productivity
  • give greater profitability to the economy as a whole
  • create less dependency upon welfare payments, especially in old age.

Malin Ackholt, EFFAT President, commented on today’s action saying:  “Closing the gender pay is one of the cornerstones of our trade union activity, as well as being a win-win solution for the society as whole; not only does inequality hamper the economy, but it also impacts all aspects of society including the cost of healthcare and higher education” – and added: “I am glad to see that we as trade unions agree on a set of concrete measures to be taken up by the European Commission and unanimously call for effective policy combating gender discrimination in all member states.”

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