WageIndicator Gazette 8

September 2005 - Here is your first WageIndicator Gazette new style. Enjoy! Thank you for your attention. The WageIndicator Team

Did you notice?
The backside of our www.wageindicator.org has been completely renewed, technically speaking. A silent process, which caused the Dutch team many sleepless hours. Dedicated to a faster, smoother, bug-free, bugger-free, round-the-clock operation. And in case you hadn’t noticed, the left column, sporting all the WageIndicator websites, has outgrown the infant stage and is now well in its teens. If every additional website stands for a year, we will be grown up soon. And where is South Korea? Country number 15? Here is the test website of a fresh new team.

Trade union project ´close the gender pay gap´ in next phase
Together with trans national partners in Belgium and Hungary, Dutch trade unions and the WageIndicator Foundation entered the next phase of ESF Equal project ' close the gender pay gap' . Over the next 2 years research on the WageIndicator dataset will be used to develop tools, both online and offline, for the individual and collective empowerment of female workers. In 2006 the WageIndicator websites will feature a simulator in which you can monitor your salary negotiations. And a life career check. Next to that a training course will be offered to some 120 individual women workers. At the same time the gender pay gap will be debated in special sessions and expert meetings with and on behalf of trade union officials.

Questionnaire for the informal sector
The Indian research team has put a lot of effort lately in creating a questionnaire for the informal sector of the economy. It is almost ready, but still in the testing phase. This questionnaire is a must in a country with a huge informal sector. Here different rules apply. Labour organisations are small and weak, maybe with the notable exception of SEWA, (Self Employed Women's Association), which organizes female garbage pickers, street vendors and so on. Given the different circumstances under which many workers in the informal sectors must make a living, special questions had to be created which reflect conditions they will recognize as relevant. You will therefore find questions about pay in kind (food), (reasons for) migration and temporary work, kind of dwelling or shelter, with whom they share a household etc. See f.e. for this last section our blog. The Indian research team contributes this informal questionnaire to the WageIndicator project as a whole. This means that researchers in countries like Brazil and South Africa, economies with large informal sectors too, can profit from their investment immediately.

Want you own blog on our pages?
You want your own weblog? Just let us know and you’ll have it. Fons, member of the Chinese team in Shanghai started his log. Paulien did the same for the international/Dutch team. Bharti for The Indian Paycheck.

Belgium: on the double
As you may know: Belgium is a European country and therefore has a christian tradition. This means that the country has 2 confederations of trade unions: a christian (ACV) and a non-christian (ABVV). ACV has been with the WageIndicator from the start and adopted the Dutch name loonwijzer for its website, with the extension .be of course. It also translated the Dutch version into French. Because, as you may remember, Belgium is a confederation of Flanders (where they speak a nice kind of Dutch) and the Walloon provinces (where they speak their own French). Now ABVV joined Belgian ranks. And it decided to bring online its own Dutch and French versions of the WageIndicator, doubling our web exposure in both communities at one stroke! See for yourself at MijnLoon.be. Hopefully this extension will lead to a doubling of data intake at double speed. Welcome ABVV/FGTB!

First research results in Belgium
For the first time since its launch the Belgian WageIndicator generated news. Based on 9,000 questionnaires the gender pay gap could be calculated. It is a gross 500 euro wide! And it becomes wider, says the Belgian team. In nett terms women in Belgium earn on average 332 euro less than their male colleagues. Most workers in Belgium make something between 2250 and 2500 euro per month. The median gross salary is 2280 euro, which boils down to 1487 euro nett.

Participation in EU FP6 project about classification of occupations seems likely
Euroccupations is a FP6 EU-sponsored project for the classification of occupations/professions on a European scale. Such classifications already exists for industries and education. But a similar common standard is lacking thus far on the professional level. Research institutes from some of the European countries which participate in the WageIndicator are likely to become engaged in this classification scheme as from April 2006. Euroccupations will draw amongst others on the national WageIndicator datasets, which are quite advanced already in terms of international comparability and the detailedness of their data. Euroccupations will contribute to the development of the methodology for large scale online data gathering. Special attention will be given to possible gender and skills biases. The official green light for participation in this project is expected by the end of 2005. Projectleader prof. Kea Tijdens.

Plone against spaghetti at your screen
How long can you struggle behind the screens with conflicting languages at your screen? Like the combination of Spanish and Russian? German and Polish? Korean and English? And where to find a content management system which gives instructions to web managers in their own language? Yes! Now Koreans can do it behind the password in Korean. And the British in English. Even the Dutch have Dutch. Eight long months we and our WageIndicator programmers struggled. Finally, with the help of Plone and Zope we don’t have any language conflict anymore in the questionnaires and in the text. What a relief. This is how Plone on its homepage advertises itself in a personal ad: ‘Friendly, successful CMS seeks long term-relationship. I’ve worked all over the world and speak 48 languages. But people who’ve met me say I’m easygoing and fun.’ And Plone is open source, of course.

Minimum wages in India
What is the minimum wage of a bricklayer in the Indian state of Bihar? And in the Punjab? Is there a difference between these two? Yes, there is. The Punjabi gets 50% more. See for yourself on www.paycheck.in The figures you will find there may not make you happy, low as they are, but the fact that you can find out within a few seconds, makes us very happy and proud. Our Indian PayCheck team is alive and kicking. Including information from the lower end of the labour market right from the start makes our joint ambition clear: to cover the whole labour market with our online research and salary checks. Note: the minimum wage checker you may visit now, will be improved in a few weeks time with more and fresher data.

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