Member area

Collective bargaining cuts the gender pay gap

08 March 2023

On International Women’s Day OECD rightly point to the gender pay gap of over 11% across OECD countries .

What they don’t point is fact that collective bargaining – negotiations between unions and employers – reduces the gender pay gap. But other OECD publications do confirm it.

TUAC’s message to the OECD is to urge governments to support an enabling environment for workers to organise and bargain collectively.

If you want a fair deal for working women, support collective bargaining

— Veronica Nilsson, TUAC Acting General Secretary

A particular problem that contributes to the overall gender pay gap is the fact that many women are trapped in so-called ‘non-standard’ work (temporary and/or part-time work including zero hour contracts) where pay is low job quality is poorer and workers have less possibility to organize. Across the OECD, almost 1 in 3  (31%) women of working age are in non-standard employment – twice the % of men (15.3%).

Good initiatives to boost collective bargaining and tackle ‘non-standard’ work include the New Zealand Fair Pay Agreements bill and the EU’s minimum wages directive that requires national action plans for increasing collective bargaining where fewer than 70% of workers are covered by collective agreements, Spain’s 2021 law on Guarantee of Stability in Employment, the Dutch Government’s consultation with unions and employers on creating more stable jobs.