EU gender pay gap still significant, warn trade unions
The organization looked at several criteria including skills, physical effort and responsibility
BRUSSELS — Women in Europe doing jobs requiring the same skills as jobs done by men are still being paid significantly less, according to a study by the the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).
The major trade union organization, which represents 45 million members in 38 European countries, compared wages in two countries from Western and Eastern Europe — Germany and Romania — looking at women working in the sector of household appliances and men working in car manufacturing.
The organization looked at several criteria including skills, physical effort and responsibility. It compared full-time workers of the same age and with a permanent contract working for medium-sized companies. In Germany, ETUC said, women in the white goods sector earn (euro)865 less per month in gross income than men making cars, for jobs requiring similar skills.
In Romania, where wages are significantly lower, the average difference in net income is (euro)244, ETUC said.
“Comparing the pay of women and men in the manufacturing sector shows clearly how women are paid less even when their jobs require the same levels of skill and physical effort as those of men,” ETUC deputy general secretary Esther Lynch said. “The COVID crisis has also exposed the deep-rooted bias behind wages for professions dominated by women, with carers and cleaners recognized as ‘essential’ despite being amongst the lowest paid.”
Last year, using data from the EU’s statistical office, the trade union organization said women would have to wait for another 84 years and the next century to achieve equal pay at the current pace of change.
ETUC called on the European executive commission to quickly come forward with its pay transparency directive. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had planned to present measures to introduce binding pay transparency measures in the first 100 days of her mandate, but the proposals have yet to be unveiled.
“Quality is more important than speed in this case,” EU commission spokesman Christian Wigand said. “We’ll come forward with proposals in the coming months.”