Voting for Equal Pay

Equal Pay Vote and Dagenham WorkersI voted today to introduce pay transparency across large companies. The measure, put forward by my colleague Sarah Champion in a 10 Minute Rule Bill will require companies which employ over 250 staff to publish their own gender pay gap in their annual report.

I was delighted to meet with 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 (pictured) – at a Rally today in support of the Bill.

I am disappointed that despite Labour MPs voting through the motion today, 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 we have released 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 Oldham East and Saddleworth should know why the Tories and Lib Dems failed to back equal pay for millions of women across Britain. Women in Oldham and throughout the UK 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.

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