European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

She needs a pay rise


Brussels, 7 March 2017 | On 8 March 2017, International Womens’ Day, the trade union movement reflects on the need to achieve gender parity in the workplace. The average gender pay gap in the EU is almost 17%, and up to now it has only been reduced at a very slow pace. This happens in spite of women‘s significant progress in terms of educational achievements and work experience, and in the long run will result in lower pensions and poverty for women in old age.

EFFAT sectors are no exception in this respect:

  • Tourism is one of the main employers of women in the EU (58% of workers are female) with a sectoral gender gap that varies from 2.8% in Denmark to almost 30 % in Portugal
  • In the food sector women represent approximately 43% of all employees, but they are under-represented in managerial and vocational roles.

A pay rise that narrows and ultimately eliminates the pay gap between women and men could be achieved by e.g.:

  • Raising wages in jobs where women make up over 80% of the workforce workers in sectors such as personal care workers, cleaners and helpers, general and keyboard clerks, and health associate professionals;
  •  A flat rate increase in wages (as opposed to an undifferentiated % increase which maintains existing pay inequalities);  
  • Job evaluations: to review the grading of jobs mainly carried out by women and upgrade them to the pay of similar jobs mainly carried out by men;
  • Pay transparency:  where pay is not collectively bargained, pay increases are not transparent and men usually negotiate higher increases than women; 
  • Women joining a trade union - the wage gap among union members is less than half of the wage gap among non-union workers.

In its “Recommendations on Equal Pay”, EFFAT compiled examples of successful initiatives to combat pay discrimination reported by member organisations, to provide inspiration for the implementation of the equal pay principle and the tackling of the persistent gender pay gap.

Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT Secretary General, commented: "The principle of equal pay is the foundation of our trade union activity. Guaranteeing a pay raise for women is not only fair but would contribute to address social injustice and equal opportunities. Furthermore it would trickle up the economy by giving millions of working women more money to spend" - and added: “It is unacceptable nowadays to think that women end up in precarious contracts and unsafe working conditions due to the impossibility to find a proper work-life balance. This has a huge impact on wages and must end”.

Calling for closing the gender pay gap on 8 March is part of the 2017 wider campaign ‘Europe needs a pay rise’ urging for a Europe wide salary increase and convergence.


Join the conversation: #HerPayRise  | #OurPayRise | #IWD2017


More info:

Employment in Tourism | 221/2015 - 14 December 2015

EFFAT Reccomendations on Equal Pay (2014)

Percentage of female employees by top 30 occupations    

Best and lowest paying industries

ETUC Pay Rise campaign  #HerPayRise #OurPayRise

ETUC Study “Bargaining for Equality”




EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.