SIPTU members will use collective bargaining to close the gender pay gap according to a motion passed unanimously at the union’s Biennial Delegate Conference in Sligo today (Monday, 28th March). Proposing the motion at the conference, SIPTU activist and Dublin Bus worker, Ann Ryan, said; “A gender pay gap in a company does not indicate discrimination or an absence of equal pay for equal value work – it reports a gender representation gap. If women hold more of the lower paid jobs in an organisation than men, the gender pay gap is usually wider. “Having campaigned on this issue for years, we welcomed the enactment last year of the Gender Pay Information Act. It wasn’t all that we had hoped it would be.  We are particularly concerned that the legislation says nothing about the involvement of trade unions and the facility to engage in collective bargaining to narrow the gender pay gap.”   She added: “Our union calls on the Minister for Equality, Roderic O’Gorman, to ensure that the regulations, when they are published, provide for a right for worker representatives to sit down and negotiate with employers on an action plan to tackle the gender pay gap.” Also speaking on the motion, SIPTU Activist and Healthcare Assistant, Yvonne Mefor, said: “This motion is calling for your support for a union-wide campaign aimed at addressing the gender pay gap through collective bargaining at workplace, industry, sector and national level.”  She added: “The campaign will include an education and awareness programme among union staff and activists about the nature and causes of the gender pay gap including factors such as occupational segregation and the undervaluing of women’s work and education. We will be training our staff and shop stewards on how to analyse gender pay data and how to negotiate the introduction of effective mechanisms for achieving equal pay.” More than 350 delegates are attending the SIPTU Biennial Delegate Conference in the Clayton Hotel in Sligo from Monday (28th March) until Thursday (31st March) to debate and discuss motions on improving the lives of workers in Ireland.