March 8th: Unite today called on the Government to introduce a package of measures to close the gender pay gap, which currently sees women earning, on average, nearly 15 per cent less than women. Speaking on International Women’s Day, the union’s Regional Equalities Officer Taryn Trainor pointed out that society as a whole pays for the gender wage gap, with one estimate putting the cost to the EU at a staggering €370 billion annually.
“The current gender pay gap is nearly 15 per cent. Women account for over 73 per cent of those earning the Minimum Wage, which is unsurprising given that women are over-represented in low-paid sectors such as retail and hospitality and are disproportionately likely to be in temporary, insecure or part-time employment.
“When comparing like-for-like wages and salaries, the gender pay gap is particularly pronounced in areas such as financial services and sales.
“The gender pay gap imposes an unacceptable cost on individual women workers and on society as a whole, with Eurofound estimating that it costs the EU a staggering €370 billion per annum when one takes account of foregone earnings and social insurance contributions, as well as increased social protection transfers and benefits.
“The gender pay gap is quite simply unaffordable.
“The Government needs to move beyond lip service and commit to a package of measures which would not only help close the gender pay gap, but would also improve the situation of workers across the board.
“A statutory right to collective bargaining, going beyond the 2015 legislation, would disproportionately benefit women employed in employed in low-waged and fragmented sectors where they have little power.
“Other measures include the Minimum Wage to align it with the Living Wage and requiring larger employers to publish regular wage data, highlighting the difference between male and female earnings”, Ms Trainor said.