Jessica Morden

Labour MP for Newport East

Equal Pay Vote

I voted in Parliament today to introduce pay transparency across large companies. The measure, put forward by Labour will require companies which employ over 250 staff to publish their own gender pay gap in their annual report.

 

Labour MPs were joined in Parliament by Gwen Davis, Sheila Douglass, Vera Sime and Eileen Pullen – four of the original Dagenham women who went on strike for equal pay leading to the Equal Pay Act of 1970, as well as the stars of the hit musical ‘Made in Dagenham’ including Gemma Arterton and Isla Blair.

But despite Labour voting through the motion this week, Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs failed to vote in favour after the Government indicated that it did not intend to make pay transparency the law.

The campaign for pay transparency is being led by Labour in Parliament, and supported by Grazia magazine and employers including PricewaterhouseCoopers and Genesis Housing who are amongst just five companies known to voluntarily publish their pay gap.

Shockingly women still earn an average 81p for every pound earned by men, despite the Equal Pay Act being passed 44 years ago. To coincide with the vote Labour is releasing new analysis of official figures which show that – because of the gender pay gap, women earn an average £209,976 less over their lifetime than men.

Women and their families across Newport East will be wondering why the Tories and Lib Dems failed to back equal pay for millions of women across Britain. Women in Newport East shouldn’t have to wait another generation for equal pay. Pay transparency will shine a light on the problem and help employers to close the pay gap once and for all. This Government might not be prepared to act but a Labour Government will.

Notes:

  • The vote on Sarah Champion MP’s 10 Minute Rule Bill was passed by 158 votes to 8. 7 Tory male MPs vote against equal pay and Lib Dem Minister for Women and Equalities failed to vote despite being present for the motion.
  • Pay transparency for large employers was originally included by Labour in the Equality Act (2010) (section 78) but ditched by the Conservatives and Lib Dems on entering Government. The measure is widely viewed as a way to stimulate action on the causes of the gender pay gap within workplaces.
  • The Lib Dems recently announced that section 78 was now Lib Dem policy, but have failed to back the measure in Government, despite being in charge of the responsible Government department.
  • Women in the UK still earn on average just 81p for every pound a man earns. The UK Gender Pay Gap in the UK is still higher than in most other EU countries. New analysis of ONS figures calculated the ‘cost’ of the pay gap to women over a lifetime, by analysing the pay gap in each decade across the average woman’s working life and the associated cost according to the average wage at that age

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