Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Equality debate at the TUC

The debate on Composite Motion 6 on the Equality Bill is, thus far, non-controversial but certainly not unimportant.

Of particular significance to UNISON is a clause drawing upon UNISON's amendment to the original motion, which calls for the gender pay gap to be addressed through adequate public sector funding and changed legal processes.

This addresses the hidden crisis which threatens the finances, officers and activists of many unions, and of UNISON in particular. In the absence of adequate funding to fill the gender pay gap the application of factor based job evaluation to achieve equal pay is leading to many losers.

The delays which resulted in large part from anticipation of this outcome have produced rising pressure for progress from which No Win No Fee solicitors are now gaining significantly, litigating against both employers and unions.

For understandable reasons, given the scale and nature of the legal action, this vital question is not one which has a high profile at events such as this Congress.

However we have been asking for funding to fill the gender pay gap for several years - and two years ago I heard Gordon Brown (then Chancellor) tell Congress that something would be done.

The question we ought to be asking is what if anything we are getting from the Government to help us with this crisis...

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