The Equal Pay Act, 1970 came into force on 29 December 1975, following the strikes at Ford’s Dagenham site by machinists who were paid significantly less than their male colleagues for comparable work. In the Act the UK recognised and made a commitment to addressing pay inequality for women. The Act has since been replaced by the Equality Act 2010, but the provisions relating to pay inequality are substantively the same in the 2010 Act.
Some steps towards addressing inequality have been made during this time, such as the introduction of Single Status by local governments to ensure that their employees are now paid the same rate of pay for like work or work of equal value. However, some 38 years later, in reality many women still face pay inequality and barriers to the highest paid roles simply because of their gender.
Today, Thursday November 7 marks Equal Pay Day – the day on which women effectively stop being paid for the year due to gender based pay inequality. This means that women are effectively working for almost 2 months of the year unpaid because women working full time earn on average 15% less per hour than men in full time roles. More information on Equal Pay Day can be found at www.tuc.org.uk.
If you believe that you are paid less or are treated differently because of your gender then this may amount to sex discrimination. If you would like advice on discrimination or any other employment matter please contact the employment team at Beecham Peacock Solicitors in Newcastle on 0191 232 3048.