Carola Fischbach - Pyttel
EPSU General Secretary
Carola Fischbach-Pyttel was the very first woman elected General Secretary of an ETUC Trade Union Federation. She has headed the European Federation of Public Service Unions for 17 years and has been building up EPSU as the European Trade Union Federation with a vision to represent all public sector workers of which 68.5 % are women. Today the EPSU is the largest federation of the ETUC, and comprises 8 million public service workers, from over 250 trade unions. EPSU is the first European Trade Union Federation with a fully gender-mainstreamed constitution reflected in particular at the level of the EPSU leadership (President and Vice Presidents). She created the first Women's and Gender Equality Committee amongst the European Federations, and she has led positive action in the staff recruitment policy promoting women within EPSU.
Carola Fischbach-Pyttel has made it a key objective for the organisation to increase women’s participation in EPSU’s Executive Committee (highest body after Congress of EPSU from 20% to over 40%) and helped to establish a better visibility of gender equality in general.
She also relentlessly puts gender equality policy high on the agenda, in all areas and activities of the public sector. In 2005, EPSU participated in the cross-sectorial social partner negotiations at the European level, to conclude a ‘Framework of actions on gender equality’. This commitment sets out a series of priorities for action in the context of gender equality between women and men – addressing gender roles (i); promoting women in decision-making (ii); supporting the work life balance (iii); and, tackling the gender pay gap (iv).
To implement the agreement for the public sector EPSU developed the following tools and concluded the following agreements:
- 2012: EPSU co-signed a transnational company agreement negotiated between representatives of the European trade union federations and management in the multinational Gdf-Suez. It is the first transnational agreement that specifically aims at gender equality only and at defining unjustified differences between men and women by e.g. achieving pay equality between men and women and taking account of all salary elements, and achieving a better balance between professional and family life.
Demanding Governments’ Action for Working Women Everywhere
Carola Fischbach-Pyttel is very passionate about the vital need to change current gender inequalities faced by women across a wide range of key areas in their lives, acerbated by the austerity measures applied to public budgets across the European Union countries. “This policy must be turned around, as it jeopardises progress made for women in the labour market over the last decades. We demand that our governments take action now to guarantee women’s basic human rights, both as users of essential public services and as public service workers. This must also include respect for the human rights to health care and necessary social services, such as child and dependent care, to social protection, to decent wages and an adequate standard of living, and to live and work free from violence.”