TUC calls for 2005 to be 'year of equal pay'

The TUC have announced that the gap between men and women's pay scales is still "as wide as ever".

TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O'Grady is expected to tell delegates at today's TUC/Equal Opportunities Review Discrimination Law Conference, that progress towards achieving equal pay for women has been "painfully slow", since the Equal Pay Act was passed 35 years ago.

The TUC say that women who believe that they are being paid less than men, still have to make their own individual case, which means it can take years to successfully resolve a case. Ms O'Grady warned: "Until unions are able to take group cases on behalf of female employees, the gender pay gap looks set to stay as wide as ever".

Official figures have shown that women working full-time still earn 19.8% less than men working full-time.

The TUC said that the voluntary approach to narrowing the pay gap is not working and called on workplaces to be "forced" to publish pay audits. Ms O'Grady said: "Without more honesty over pay at work, employers will continue to hide behind the British obsession of not talking about salaries and continue to pay their male and female employees who do the same or similar jobs differently."

Anthony Lester (Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC) also backed the TUC's statements and said that employers should be required to carry out pay reviews of the composition of their workforce, their employment and equal pay polices and practises.

The TUC has also published a guide to equality law to coincide with the conference. The guide explains the context in which discrimination operates in the UK and covers all aspects of it, including the law as it relates to race, gender, disability, equal pay, sexual orientation, religion and age.


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