RHI Seminar: Silke Neunsinger (Uppsala University)

14 February 2017: Mind the gap – An entangled history of equal remuneration

Organised by Rural and Environmental History

Tue 14 February 2017 12:15 to 14:15

Venue Leeuwenborch, gebouwnummer 201
Room V72

Mind the gap – An entangled history of equal remuneration 

The demand for equal pay has existed probably as long as waged work. After the Second World War international bodies such as the ILO and the UN, as well as international trade unions and trade union confederations turned the issue into a truly global demand and created international standards which defined wage equality and included a number of suggested methods to implement wage equality between men and women. At the same time wage negotiations can take place in a number of different ways: In some regions labour markets consist of a large formal sector and are characterised by a long experience of collective agreements, in other regions a large informal sector made legislation ineffective, more recently wage negotiations have also become individualized. How were global/universal concepts such as equal remuneration transferred and reshaped through trade union organisations to influence the situation of individual workers? And how did local wage setting practices influence the work of unions and affect global/universal concepts?

Silke Neunsinger and her colleague Ylva Waldemarson have studied trade unions and their women’s committees on all levels, international bodies such as the ILO and the UN Commission on the Status of Women. On a regional level they have studied the co-operation during the 1940s until the late 1960s between the women’s committees of the national trade union federations in the Scandinavian countries. At a local level they have investigated specific work places such as the municipal workers in Sweden and textile workers in South Africa. They have also used court cases from India to see how the concept of equal remuneration has affected different groups of workers such as state employees, employees in private firms and workers in the informal sector.

During this seminar, Silke Neunsinger will present some preliminary results of this ongoing project.

More information about Silke Neunsinger can be found here.