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(en) Poland, rozbrat: City of women and wage equality Kinga Krzysztofiak, Stanislaw Krastowicz [machine translation]

Date Sun, 15 Apr 2018 08:16:14 +0300

On Saturday, information reached us that the Wielkopolska Women's Congress hailed Jaskowiak as the leader in creating equal opportunities for women and men. It is possible that from the perspective of women with liberal-conservative orientation he is such a leader. Nevertheless, women are not only politicians, celebrities and businesswomen. Women are also workers forced to work for half-free, including in local government institutions or for free in households. ---- After the Social Congress of Women, which is an alternative to the activities of neo-liberal communities, President Jaskowiak started promising to compensate for the wages of men and women. In Gazeta Wyborcza, we could read that he wants to "level the wages of men and women in the city hall (in the municipality as many as 70% of employees are women). - Unfortunately, the differences are still there. They mainly concern lower levels. "

It is not known what such a declaration is supposed to mean, because it can be understood so that the president will share his salary with a cleaner (cleaners) in the office. He can do it basically immediately and then he would actually deserve the title of equal opportunities leader.

The problem is that liberals who talk about the equalization of wages tend to have disproportions in specific professions, and these - contrary to appearances - are generally not large, reaching an average of about 7%. In Poland - according to some studies - this kind of inequality in the level of wages of women and men is one of the lowest in Europe. However, this does not apply to management. Here women in terms of pay are very much discriminated against. In other words, Jaskowiak does not seem to mind paying wages to her colleagues on managerial positions, but not necessarily women who work at all.

Wage disparities due to gender within a given profession are of course also important, but they mainly concern women with higher wages and those belonging to better-off households. At the lower levels of the class and professional hierarchy, these gender disparities are much smaller. The statutory minimum wage is the same for men and women. Here, income problems of households with low wages accumulate. Rich guys do not get married with cleaners, but rather, for example with notaries. For the vast majority of women, the main problem lies not in wage differences within one segment of the labor market, and in wage differences between various labor market segments, among which the feminized segments are the lowest paid. In the group of occupations most dominated by women, they earn on average 15-30% less than in sectors with a predominance of men (according to the Central Statistical Office in 2016, the average gross wages of women in the national economy was lower than men by over 20%). It is this disproportion that mainly weighs on women and that is why they are demanding compensation for wages on this level. The fulfillment of this postulate would mean, however, the need for the presidents of cities, heads of departments or professors, etc. to share the remuneration fund not only with their colleagues but also with cleaners.

For these reasons, after the declaration of President Jaskowiak regarding the equalization of wages of men and women in the city office, employees of city nurseries belonging to the Employee Initiative asked the president about the specific pay disproportions he had in mind. As they emphasize: "there are no men among nurses in nurseries, so there is no disproportion within the professional group". On the other hand, there are huge disparities between individual groups of employees in workplaces financed from the budget of cities. In a letter to Jaskowiak, the workers' union activists also ask what amount of increases are planned for employees of Poznan city nurseries in 2019. They demand that a wage agreement be signed for the years 2019-2022 before the presidential election (in the case of winning Jaskowiak in the election).

It is interesting to note that the Wielkopolska Congress of Women did not mean that it would be nursery workers who consistently struggled for wage increases from 2011, do not call the leaders of creating equal opportunities for women and men. In exchange for this - symptomatic - they were encouraged to take a selfie with Jaskowiak. Of course, this can only be interpreted in one way - this Congress represents women from above-mentioned professional groups.

From the perspective of the Social Congress of Women, the policy of Jacek Jaskowiak only confirms the state in which women boil down to the level of cheap labor. The president does a lot to ensure that wages of local government employees remain at a decidedly lower level than the revenues of the leaders of the Wielkopolska Women's Congress supporting him. If wages of working women are increased at all, it is not as a result of some "wage-compensation" action, but as a result of persistent, long-term pressure of workers associated in trade unions. In truth, it's not easy for them. Jaskowiak recently withdrew from previously negotiated wage increases by trade unions in 2018 for the worst-paid women working for the city authorities.

Also, urban social policy hits the worst earners. One of its fundamental directions is to maintain underservice of care institutions. Such a policy of focusing on cuts in social security means that household duties related to the care of children, chronically ill or elderly people rest on the shoulders of women. "City of women" by Jaskowiak is just an empty slogan, which most working women in Poznan can not get fooled about and demanding particulars.

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