ETF Women's Committee, March 2015: Country Reports


Women trade unionists are supporting the Justice for Jimena Lopez campaign and are increasing the representation of women within the union.


There is no improvement in the country's situation, despite the government's claims. Spain is going backwards socially, with the welfare state being dismantled, wages falling, and women being hit hardest. Equality plans are ineffective, despite there being 72 plans, each with its own monitoring committee.

Trade unions are finding that collective bargaining ('social dialogue') is being obstructed by the employers. The trade union federations have recently merged, and the merged federation has an Equality Commission.

There are four sets of elections this year: national, regional, district and local.


With the continuing economic slump, and with the parliamentary election in April, there is not currently much activity on women's equality.


The trade union FTTUB campaigns for women's equality as part of its everyday work. It will hold a women's conference on 9 March.

It is researching the gender pay gap, and will soon have statistics for the gap in each industrial sector.


The Swedish union Kommunal produces a short video for International Women's Day each year. We watched last year's video, which was on the theme of the gender pay gap, asking "What does a woman need to do to get a pay rise? Become a man!" This campaign has achieved a lot of publicity and reached millions of people. It produced seven concrete demands to reduce the gender pay gap.

A new video will be published on 8 March 2015.

Kommunal now runs a campaign, 'Always 8 March', organising activities for women's rights on the 8th of every month.

All Kommunal employees now receive ten days equalities training.


This year marks 100 years since International Women's Day was first marked in Norway. Although Norway is often seen as a progressive country, women are still paid less, still have more domestic responsibilities, and are concentrated in insecure employment, which the government is encouraging. So the union is campaigning under the slogan, '100 years of patience is enough - equal pay now!'


The government is attacking women workers' rights. It is supposedly social democratic, but the committee member described it as "everything except social or democratic". However, the opposition is also right wing. There is an election next year.

In better news, workers have taken several successful court cases against employers, an the union is marking International Women's Day by sending a questionnaire to companies that they will use to table key demands.


Several unions have merged to form FNV, which has sections for both industrial sectors and equalities groups eg. FNV-rail, FNV-women.

FNV-women is very large, and will be holding a large women's programme on 8 March entitled One Voice, including various talks and activities.

The Minister for Social Affairs is very supportive, and usually progresses demands proposed by the unions. The union's next demand will be that employers are required to report on the gender pay gap, why it exists, and what measures they will take to reduce it. The gap is currently 16% - the aim is to scrap it by 2020.


The Socialist government - "the most anti-social socialists ever" - is introducing a new anti-union law (the Macron law) to reduce the power of the country's labour courts.

The union is supporting the Justice for Jimena Lopez campaign, and took part in the on 18 February 2015 with a rally in Trocadero Square.


I reported on workplace/political issues: super-exploitation of cleaners, mostly women and migrant workers; cuts and closures; reinstatement battles for women members; and union issues: 25/1/14 event, including Kurdish women; centenary of NUR admitting women members; RMT women's conference this weekend; internal structures review overlooking changes to improve women's representation.

I also asked that we seek a report from women trade unionists in Greece for the next meeting, and discuss how we can support them.