• Equal Pay Day symbolises the day women stop being paid.
  • Gender pay gap not closing fast enough, says TUC South West

Today’s (Thursday) Equal Pay Day shows how much further we still need to go, says TUC South West.

According to the latest government figures, the gender pay gap for women workers in Dorset is 21.3%,

This is above the UK average of 17.3% which takes into account the median average earnings for all men and women.

The TUC South West says the causes of the gender pay gap are multiple but much more can be done to close it.

Commenting, Nigel Costley, South West regional secretary of the TUC said:

“From employers who simply undervalue women’s role in the workplace, to not enough flexible working options for mums and dads, there are many reasons why we are still seeing unacceptable pay gaps in our workplaces.

“Childcare costs are extortionate, so women who typically earn less than their partners will be the ones who cut back on their hours to look after the kids.

“And we hear from women that part-time workers are still treated less favourably than those in the office full-time. “

The federation of trade unions also points to how even full-time women face a gap in their pay when compared to men, with too few women in senior and leadership positions in businesses.

Recent ONS figures show the average full-time working woman in Dorset earns £453.80 per week compared to £590.20 for full-time working men. And whilst weekly earnings for men this year increased by 12% since 2018, it had dropped by 2.6% for women.

Nigel Costley adds:

“We’re almost 50 years on from when the Equal Pay Act came into force – a legal right fought for by the women machinists from Ford’s Dagenham factory.

“Yet their daughters and granddaughters are still suffering the same plight of unequal pay, simply because they are women.

“Publishing gender pay gaps produced no real change. It’s clear that the Conservative government failed another generation of working women.”

“In this general election, we want to see stronger employment rights, including genuine efforts to close the gap.”

The TUC is calling for:

  • New and stronger rights on flexible working
  • New family-friendly rights at work from day one for mums and dads
  • Firms to be legally required to publish an action plan on how they’ll tackle pay inequality in their businesses and advertise jobs on a more flexible basis.
  • And rules introduced to fine companies who repeatedly don’t pay women fairly.
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