Social dialogue / social partners
The Framework of Actions on Gender Equality agreed between the European Social Partners in 2005 contains a commitment to reduce the gender pay gap and promote equal pay for work of equal value. Its follow-up reports show a wide variety of actions implemented by the social partners at national level.
In Belgium, through inter-industry agreements the social partners are encouraged to integrate a gender neutral approach to job classification.
In Finland, separately negotiated adjustments to pay scales have been put in place. Gender pay has been specifically placed on the bargaining agenda within the national pay agreements through an ‘equality allowance’. Specially negotiated pay rises for the lowest paid women workers have had a significant effect on reducing the gender pay gap in several female dominated sectors.
In France, the 2006 Act on Equal Pay between Women and Men makes provision for compulsory collective bargaining on gender equality and requires companies to report on salaries and plans to close the gender pay gap.
The Federal Ministry for Family affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth financially supports a research project which deals with the impact of collective bargaining on the gender pay gap. The project started in December 2012 and works out together with the social partners how a decrease of the gender wage gap can be implemented in the collective bargaining process.
In Luxembourg, any collective agreement must provide for detailed rules for the application of the principle of equality of remuneration between men and women. The collective agreement must contain provisions on topics like the implementation of the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the companies to which the collective agreement applies. The negotiations have to include also the establishment of a plan for equality in employment and remuneration (Law of 30th June 2004).
In the UK, an agreement between the social partners, Agenda for Change, has resulted in the introduction of a new pay system in the National Health Service. The system involved widespread job evaluations and pay reviews which have placed pay, grading, access to career development and working hours on a more equitable basis for women and men.
In the UK, an agreement in Local Government, the Single Status Agreement, has had an impact in revaluing the low paid and undervalued work carried out by many women in the care sector.