Equality, New Liebour style

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

Harriet Harperson, the Minister for Equalities & Women, wants to force companies to publish reports on their gender pay gap.  As most of the trade and industry portfolio is devolved, Ms Harperson’s pledge to “narrow the gap between rich and poor and make Britain more equal” probably only applies to England.
According to Ms Harperson, there is too much sexual discrimination and there is “no excuse for having unfairness when times are difficult”.  This is coming from the Minister for Women who is almost certainly a woman, whose shadow counterparts are women and whose Ministry for Equality has no male ministers and no Minister for Men.

Will Ms Harperson also require companies to publish reports on the special interest employee groups they have for women, ethnic minorities and gays?  And will the Ministry for Equalities & Women be producing a report on itself, the lack of any male ministers for women and equality and the absence of a Minister for Men?

There’s only one way to find out …

To: enquiries@geo.gsi.gov.uk
Dear Ms Harperson,

I note with interest that you are to introduce a bill requiring companies to report on their gender pay gap and other inequalities.

Will you be producing a report on your own ministry which has no Minister for Men and, indeed, no male ministers at all?



And because I was a bit premature with the send button …

Dear Ms Harperson,

Further to my previous enquiry regarding your new equality bill, does it also apply to Scotland or does your pledge to “narrow the gap between rich and poor and make Britain more equal” only apply to England?  If it only applies to England, why did you give the impression that it applies to the whole of the UK?



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  1. John (37 comments) says:

    Because my friend they dont want the English to realise that the laughably titled ‘UK’ government, with Jocks heading it up, (mis)rule ONLY England and have no or virtually no say whatsoever over scotland, wales or n ireland, oh no, they have their ‘own’ governments.

    Labour OUT!!!

  2. Stan (222 comments) says:

    Hi Wonko
    Leaving aside special interest groups and uk/english governance issues, are you saying that women shouldn’t have equal pay, or that the principle of publishing pay figures is unsound?

    And just out of interest, what would a minister for men have to do?

    “Labour OUT!!!”

    You know I’d probably agree with you if it wasn’t for the fact that we’d have to be under the thumb of the tories.

    Out of the frying pan……..

  3. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    I agree 100% that women should get paid the same as men but my view of equality is different to the British government’s – I think everyone should be treated the same, not that every minority (and women just about fit that bill by 1 or 2% I think) should have special treatment at the expense of the majority white English men. The only way to get equality is to make sure everyone is treated the same and that means getting rid of these special interest groups and any legislation that singles out one particular group of people for special treatment of protection. It’s illegal to pay a woman less than a man but not to pay a man less than a woman. It’s illegal to employ somebody because they’re white but not because they’re black. This new “equality” bill will allow companies, when faced with two candidates for a job with identical qualifications, to choose them based on their sex. I don’t know if the bill allows them to choose a man over a woman on that criteria but all I’ve heard on it so far is that it will allow them to choose a woman if they want to employ more women.

  4. Stan (222 comments) says:

    Cheers Wonko

    I kind of agree with you on this one, everyone should be treated equally and I don’t like the idea of positive discrimination because I don’t think discrimination can be positive – you will alway be discriminating against someone.
    The only problem is, is that discrimination happens but it happens far less when legislation is in place. We know that there is a gap between women’s and men’s pay, so how can it be addressed without legislation?
    I don’t know
    But I’m sure that if there is legislation to help minority groups, there should be legislation to protect those who should have got a job on merit but were excluded because the successful candidate was only given the position to satisfy statistics.

    “It’s illegal to pay a woman less than a man but not to pay a man less than a woman. It’s illegal to employ somebody because they’re white but not because they’re black.”

    Actually that’s not true, the sex and race and equal pay laws specifically state that all sides are to be treated equally and that should be no bias against whites or men. When possible, references to workers are non-gender and race specific.
    As a matter of fact white males make up less than 50% of the workforce, though statistically speaking they are still the most dominant group. There are numerous cases of sex and race cases being filed and won by white male workers.

    Incidentally, there is a legal precedent which can prevent people from getting union backing in discrimination cases against fellow union members, if the union so desires.

  5. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    This new law is only about revealing information on pay rates in companies that employ over 250 people, not about positive discrimination. It’s about giving workers the information so they can then act – many women are unaware they are paid less than male colleagues for doing the same work.

    And think about it: if employers can get women to do the job for less, it will mean they’d be inclined to hire women rather than men. So compulsory pay auditing helps men in the workplace!

    The PCS union is taking action against the DVLA because they’ve been paying female staff less than men who do the same job. If companies have to publish this information, then workers themselves can act to remedy the injustice.

    Obviously the capitalists are going to raise hell about compulsory pay auditing – because they’re getting more profit by paying women less.

  6. Stan (222 comments) says:

    “This new law is only about revealing information on pay rates in companies that employ over 250 people, not about positive discrimination.”

    I’m just cynical when it comes to new laws because you can never be sure how they’ll be used in the future – just look what the terrorism laws and the criminal justice act have been used for.

  7. axel (1214 comments) says:

    charlie, i would have thought that the DVLA being Civil service, there was parity of grade, that is they are all Admin officers, admin assistants and so on and so, your salary is worked out by what your grade is and how long you have been in it?

    Up here, the way the mostly labour run councils got around it was to make jobs, non comparable that is dinner ladies did completely different work from road sweepers so there was no need to pay them the same

  8. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    Stan – good point, but given the squeals from big business over this (remember, small firms – most have 8 or 9 staff – will not have to publish pay audits) it looks unlikely that it will be used against us in the same way other laws have.

    Axel – it’s possible the DVLA has tried the same trick as the councils you cite. As far as I understand, there isn’t parity of grade across the civil service any longer.

  9. Stan (222 comments) says:

    Lets also not forget that this reform is only partially about the difference between wages for men and women but also age and class differences in pay and education


    I particularly like the quote from the director general of the Chambers of Commerce – It’s amazing what crappy excuses and scare tactics business leaders come up with to prevent equality in the workplace.

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