SIPTU has published a list of key recommendations on how to minimalise differences in pay between men and women in Ireland, as part of the union’s recognition of European Gender Pay Gap Day which is being marked today (Friday, 3rd November). SIPTU National Campaigns and Equality Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: “The central recommendation is that stronger systems of collective bargaining are critical to closing the gender pay gap. Research from the US and across the EU shows that countries with higher levels of unionisation and more coordinated wage bargaining tend to have less of an earnings gap between men and women in the labour force. “If the Government is serious about tackling the gender pay gap, it must start by supporting and facilitating the functioning of wage bargaining systems that were promoted by the last Government and enshrined in legislation. “As part of the operability of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2012, government listed six, typically low paid, sectors that were appropriate for the establishment of employment regulation orders governing pay and other issues for the sector. These are contract cleaning, security, hotels, contract catering, retail grocery and hairdressing." She added: “With the exception of security, these are predominantly female industries. To date, the Government has done nothing to support or facilitate the operability of these mechanisms.” SIPTU Economist, Marie Sherlock, said: “Gender specific actions to tackle the gender pay gap will only ever have a limited impact. Among the wider measures the union is calling for is support for gender neutral parental policies, mandatory pay reporting within companies and exploration of the entitlement to flexibility across all employment contracts. “The Government should also lead by example and consider its own underrepresentation of females in the Cabinet and in the higher levels of the civil and public service.” The full list of SIPTU recommendations are contained in a submissionby the union to the Department of Justice and Equality for its consultation process on the gender pay gap.   VIEW OR DOWNLOAD THE FULL SUBMISSION HERE