What is IUF doing to reduce the gender pay gap?

Reducing the gender pay gap is one of the key objectives of the IUF Action Programme for Equality to be achieved through concrete strategies and organizing that address obstacles to equality.

The IUF has a longstanding commitment to fighting for more skilled, higher-paying jobs for women, to organizing against all forms of precarious work in which women workers are overrepresented and which can put them at elevated risk of sexual harassment, and to creating permanent, stable jobs. IUF affiliates have been successfully negotiating with companies gender hiring policies to recruit more women workers under better conditions and widen job opportunities for women, as in Asia Pacific where women have been trained and hired as forklift drivers in a major beverage TNC or in Africa and Latin America in the banana industry. This is supported by organizing and negotiating for accessible, affordable day-care and a gender approach to workplace health and safety. The IUF is also looking at fostering women workers’ networks within TNCs to strengthen the equality agenda.

One key obstacle is gender based violence (GBV) in the world of work. The IUF has signed agreements to fight against sexual harassment with TNCs such as Chiquita, Unilever, Sodexo, Meliá, Arla and AccorInvest and has launched campaigns for dignity at work such as in the hospitality sectors where the majority of the workforce is female. At the international level, the IUF and its affiliates have been actively involved in the adoption of ILO C190 and R206 in June 2019 and are now actively campaigning for the ratification of C190 and the implementation of C190 and R206 through the negotiation of specific clauses in collective bargaining agreements or global framework agreements.

The IUF actively promotes women’s leadership in unions through its projects and statutory obligations. A minimum 40% representation of women delegates has been mandatory in IUF governing bodies since the 2007 Congress. Equality is a transversal issue part of every IUF trade union education and organising projects where women trade unionists and women workers’ rights are promoted. The IUF supports affiliates when it comes to industrial action such as the recent Lactalis women workers strike for equality or broader feminist strikes like the feminist strike in Switzerland.

The IUF has a long-standing support for home-based and domestic workers, other highly female dominated sectors, and pioneered the fight for their recognition as workers with the right to collective bargaining and the right to access social security.

In what way can EPIC be relevant to IUF?

By being part of this coalition, the IUF will be able to discuss, share and learn the best strategies to fight against the gender pay gap, one of the most obvious discriminations and inequalities in the world of work, and promote pay equity. The IUF action is rooted in collective bargaining, which is key in closing the gender pay gap, and in the right for all workers to join and be represented by independent and democratic trade unions.