Enough is enough: End the Gender Pay Gap!

4 Nov 2020

On (Un)Equal Pay Day, ETF addresses the following statement to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen:

“As a long-serving and experienced driver, I found out that I was paid 3,000 pounds less than my male colleague with less experience. I raised a grievance, but was made to feel like I was wrong.” – A female bus driver

Based on a recent ETF survey of around 3,000 women transport workers from across Europe, nearly one in three think that they have fewer opportunities to advance in their current workplace than their male colleagues. The survey report points to unequal treatment between men and women as one of the main reasons for the low 22% female make-up of the sector. Enough is enough. On (Un)Equal Pay Day, ETF calls for an end to the gender pay gap. 

35% of the respondents were unhappy with the treatment of women employees by managers and supervisors, and their wage levels. When asked about specific forms of discrimination, respondents identified the areas of equal pay, promotions, and pay rises as concrete issues. They reported that the entry-level salaries were more or less equal for women and men, but that women’s salaries stopped rising sooner, or increased more slowly, than men’s salaries throughout their working careers.

Typically, compared to men, those women that do work in the industry perform different jobs: customer-facing or administrative jobs, and they represent the majority of the workforce in part-time, temporary and lower paid types of employment. Simplistic assumptions may seem to explain the situation by pointing to this fact. However, as in other sectors, there is a sizeable “unexplained” portion of the gender pay gap.

Testimonies from women transport workers suggests a serious gender pay gap, but there are no recent studies that provide concrete data about the pay gap, nor any analyses of why and how this occurs in the transport sector. There is critical need to carry out a specific study on wage levels and their gendered aspects in transport.

Binding pay transparency measures would be an appropriate tool to reduce the gender pay gap and to create more openness about pay and pay inequalities. Therefore, the ETF joins the European Trade Union Confederation’s call on the European Commission to act urgently and to bring forward their proposal for a Pay Transparency Directive. The delay is unacceptable! Women transport workers are counting on it!

Meanwhile, the transport industry must not become complacent and wait for rules. Instead, transport companies should take the lead and improve terms and conditions to make the sector fair and fit for women to work in. Collective bargaining at its various levels is a central tool for eliminating gender discrimination and tackling the pay gap.