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Gender pay gap widening: trade union struggle needed to win decent pay for all
Karen Seymour, Mansfield Socialist Party
From 6 April, companies with more than 250 employees are required to disclose their gender pay gap.
The BBC reports that among the large firms with the biggest increases in pay gaps were garage chain Kwik Fit, car retailer Inchcape, and Interserve FS, part of Interserve Group, which leaches off the public sector.
Some companies have failed to respond to the government's request for this data. It is a sign of how seriously, or not, the Tories take the issue that there is no definitive list of companies required to file figures!
Every sector pays men more on average, from construction to manufacturing.
It isn't just businesses that are failing to do anything about gender pay. The Guardian reports that in some civil service departments, the problem is getting worse!
Paying women less than men for the same work has been against the law since the 1970 Equal Pay Act.
Of course, the biggest pay gap is between bosses and workers. FTSE 100 chiefs earn 133 times more than the average UK worker.
And the gap is increasing. Iain Conn, chief executive of Centrica that owns British Gas, just got a 44% pay rise to £2.4 million.
What the Socialist Party demands is that trade unions take a lead in fighting for public investment in well-paid jobs for all, with trade union rights for every worker.
Public sector union Unison led a 48-hour strike of 8,000 women council workers in Glasgow that won £500 million, which had been stolen in unequal pay deals. 600 mainly male refuse workers took unofficial strike action in support of them.
The soaring cost of childcare also disproportionately affects women. It's a scandal that some families pay out more in childcare costs than they do in mortgage repayments!
Many childcare providers have struggled to provide promised free childcare due to insufficient government subsidy. Some providers have gone out of business.
The Socialist Party calls for high-quality, publicly funded, free or affordable childcare for all.
We say open the books of big business, to find out where the wealth created by workers is really going! Public ownership, under democratic workers' control and management, is the strongest foundation for tackling gender pay and all other workplace issues.
We need to replace failed capitalism with a democratic socialist plan to provide for all. Only then can equality be assured.
- 'It doesn't have to be like this: Women and the struggle for socialism' just £6 plus postage at leftbooks.co.uk
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