Equal Pay Day: Trade union calls for big wage increases in sectors where many women work
FNV advocates for a wage catch-up for sectors where many women work, like healthcare, education, and retail. More accessible child care and better arrangements for leave are also crucial, the union said on Equal Pay Day. From today, for the rest of the year, women symbolically work for nothing. Because women, on average, earn 13 percent less per hour than men.
The wage gap in the Netherlands has not decreased in the past year but has grown, the union said. On Monday, politicians spoke about tackling the wage gap in the Libelle election debate. However, according to the union, that approach has not worked for 48 years.
To gauge what women think about the wage gap and what their experiences are, FNV surveyed its members. It found that 55 percent of respondents had experienced the wage gap. 2,123 women, mainly between the ages of 45 and 65, completed the survey.
“The wage gap has increased in the past two years, and that is unpalatable,” said FNV director Bas van Weegberg. The union, therefore, advocates for a significant wage jump in female-dominated sectors. The government can make that happen.
Men also need to step up in doing unpaid work. 98 percent of respondents believe that unpaid work like housework, informal care, and childcare should be valued more. Here, too, according to FNV, the government has an important role by making childcare more affordable and providing paid informal care leave.
According to FNV, women who raise suspicions of unequal pay with their employers are often waved away or laughed at, and some do not receive a contract extension as a result. In most cases, nothing was done with the report. The European wage transparency directive, which must be introduced in the Netherlands by 2026, is therefore vital. According to the union, this should also include full protection for employees raising objections to unequal pay.
Reporting by ANP