ILO says collective bargaining can reduce wage inequality, narrow gender pay gap
LONDON, ENGLAND — It may be time for more workers to consider joining a union if they have not already done so, as unionising efforts taking center stage around the world and the International Labour Organization (ILO) makes a case for the benefits of collective bargaining.
In the United States, coffeehouse giant Starbucks has made headlines over several of its locations unionising in recent times.
Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, the Trade Union Congress is organising a labour march for June 18 as it advocates for an increase in wages amidst an inflated cost of living.
In recognizing International Workers’ Day or May Day, the union highlighted “the vital role unions play in helping their members gain fair pay rises through collective bargaining.”
“Unionised workers are paid, on average, five per cent more than other similar workers,” the TUC noted.
“This is equivalent to £1,285 a year based on the average wage.”
In a further effort to encourage unionisation, TUC Deputy General Secretary Paul Nowak argued that non-unionised workers are “losing out” by not joining a collective bargaining unit.
“International Workers’ Day should be a time to celebrate,” Nowak said, “and working people can be proud of how they have brought the nation through the pandemic.
“But they are now in another crisis; the cost of living is racing ahead of their pay.”
As he called on the government to enable unions to have stronger bargaining powers, the deputy secretary general said, “If you’re not in a unionised workplace, get together with your workmates and join a union…
“If you’re not in a union, you have little bargaining power and you lose out — big time.”
A union has a crucial role
The ILO, in a recent flagship report, also encouraged unionisation, asserting that collective bargaining can “advance equality and foster inclusion”.
It also said wage differences decrease with a higher number of employees being covered by collective agreements.
“Collective bargaining…can effectively reduce wage inequality, whether in an enterprise, sector or industry,” the ILO noted.
“Collective bargaining can also contribute to narrowing the gender pay gap.”
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder commented, “Collective bargaining has played a crucial role during the pandemic in forging resilience by protecting workers and enterprises, securing business continuity and saving jobs and earnings.”
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International Labour Organisation (ILO) Flagship Report “Social Dialogue Report 2022: Collective bargaining for an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery”