Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Equal Pay moving centre stage?

For a long time the media have been more or less ignoring the massive problem of implementing equal pay in the public services – now you can hardly turn the Today programme on without hearing someone talk about it!

Last week Brian Strutton of the GMB acquitted himself well in a debate with notorious “no win no fee” lawyer Stefan Cross. Yesterday, Trevor Phillips from the Commission for Equality and Human Rights was calling for representative legal action to be possible in order to unblock the employment tribunal system which is overloaded with equal pay cases.

The CEHR appear to be heading towards backing the phased introduction of equal pay in order to limit disputes, such as that in Birmingham, over pay protection for those who lose out. If we don’t get sufficient funding from central Government to provide adequate protection and fair back pay then perhaps this compromise is unavoidable.

Capitalisation – allowing local authorities to borrow to meet the one off costs of implementing equal pay – has given some authorities room to manoeuvre but the real answer would be for the Government to remember where it keeps those billions of pounds which were available for Northern Rock or for the Iraq war and to apply some of them to funding the implementation of single status…

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