4 November 2014
Today (November 4) is equal pay day – effectively the last day of the year that women are paid for their work, thanks to the gender pay gap.
Last week the IER reported that the World Economic forum had revealed that the UK gender gap was widening – The UK fell out of the top 20 most gender-equal countries in the world for the first time this year, dropping to a ranking of 26 in the 2014 Global Gender Gap Report.
This year’s equal pay day comes three days earlier than 2013’s. The frightening reality is that economic gender inequality is getting worse not better – and has being doing so since the coalition took power in 2010. Women earn on average £2.83 per hour less than men – and £5000 a year less than their male counterparts for doing similar jobs.
The fact that for 57 days of 2014 women will work for free puts into perspective the gravity of the situation we find ourselves in, 40 years after Dagenham and the Equal Pay Act.
As Lotie O’Connor writes in the Guardian, “Gender inequality affects everyone, not just women. It makes workplaces less productive, creates workforces that are out of touch with the dynamics of the real world and robs talented women of rewarding, fulfilling roles”.
Gloria De Piero MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities said: “Women are working an extra three days for free this year because the pay gap is back on the rise. Women shouldn’t have to wait another 50 years for equal pay.”
It is the IER’s position that income inequality is best tackled by trade unions through the process of collective bargaining.
To find out more about collective bargaining, the IER’s Reconstruction After the Crisis: A Manifesto for Collective Bargaining is available for purchase. A new publication, Trade Unions and Economic Inequality by Lydia Hayes and Tonia Novitz is also available.