Green Party in England and Wales
Labour government fails to tackle gender discrimination
The Women and Work Commission is due to release a report on Monday which, despite outlining 40 recommendations, fails to call for legislation on mandatory equal pay reviews. The gender pay gap in Britain is currently one of the biggest in Europe, at an average of 24 per cent, and the Labour government have refused to adequately legislate on this issue (1).
Jenny Jones, Green Party London Assembly Member, comments: "The increasing incidence of women taking cases of gender discrimination to employment tribunals indicates that women are no longer prepared to suffer in silence. At the top of their professions, women have spoken out on sexual harassment and prejudice at work as well as financial inequality.
"The Women and Equality Unit of the Department of Trade and Industry claims that the government has presented ways to make it 'easier' for employers to pay fairly, such as through voluntary pay reviews, but this has failed to present a clear message that pay discrimination along gender lines is unacceptable. The Equal Opportunities Commission revealed last month that just one third of companies have held an equal pay review.
"It was hoped that this report would present the case for mandatory equal pay reviews in both the public and private sectors. It now looks like the government is not up to the job of combating gender discrimination and it will be left to individuals to struggle against unfair practices in the workplace."
(1) The Times, November 04, 2005, 'Gender pay gap stretches to 24%' By Gabriel Rozenberg, Economics Reporter