As delivered to Community’s Biennial Delegate Conference in Belfast on June 1st 2022.
Conference, Afzal Dean speaking on the NEC’s support for Motion 17 on pay gaps. Conference, pay gaps in the finance sector are way too high. In some companies, it is as high as 30 or 40 per cent.
Whilst we know the impact of this in the finance sector, it affects workers across the board.
We know what needs to be done to reduce gender pay gaps – more workplace flexibility. But the pace of change is punishingly slow. Conference, it is not enough for companies to simply post a nice graphic on social media on International Women’s Day and do nothing else for the rest of the year. They must practise what they preach.
Equal pay for equal work has been law in this country for nearly half a century, and yet in many places gender pay gaps remain.
We are too often seeing women workers grouped in lower paying jobs but prevented from rising to the job by a glass ceiling on their pay and professional progression.
Gender pay gaps in the workplace then lead to pension pay gaps. With women’s average earnings being lower then men’s, this has meant that the income gap between female and male pensioners is nearly 40%, a simply unacceptable situation.
At this time of a cost-of-living crisis, the fact that half of the pension age population may be receiving 40% less than the other half, for no reason other than being female, is completely wrong. That the pay gap between male and female workers, entering the workplace with the same skills and same ambitions, still exists, is wrong.
We also know that it is not just when it comes to gender that these pay gaps exist.
We know that White British workers tend to earn more per hour than BAME workers, and in a recent study a mere 23% of companies were calculating their ethnicity pay gap. Disabled workers earn on average 12.2% less than non-disabled workers.
Conference, in backing this motion, we will call for the government to make pay gap reporting mandatory, recognising that the current framework simply doesn’t go far enough. We call for pay gap reporting to go much further, reporting all gaps such as around ethnicity and disability.
We will also lobby government to develop plans to tackle the pensions gap, including through the reform of auto-enrolment rules and fixing the “net pay anomaly” where the lowest earners may not get tax relief on their pension contributions.
Conference, equal pay for equal work. Equal pensions for equal work. Equal rights for everybody. We need to banish this unfair system that says that because you are Black or because you are disabled or because you are female, you ought to earn less. It’s time for Community to lead the charge. Thank you.