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The BBC & the 1970 Equal Pay Act

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2017 by kmflett

The BBC & the 1970 Equal Pay Act

The 1970 Equal Pay Act made it the law for men and women who do the same job at work, or work that is the same or of equal value to be paid equally. While one often hears the mantra that there are no ‘no go areas’ for law and order strangely this is one law that numbers of employer’s flout.

The publication of pay figures for top BBC ‘talent’ on 20th July underlines the point. Men are paid a great deal more than women, yet they are all part of the same ‘talent’ pool doing if not the same jobs, jobs of equal value.

Efforts have been made to address that. To their credit the LibDems had a reasonable idea before 2010 of introducing Fair Pay Audits at work. This would underline the level of unequal pay and hopefully lead to it being addressed.

In Government, with the Tories, a U-Turn was done, and the idea was dropped. We don’t know but it’s likely that the pressure to drop it came not from Lynne Featherstone the LibDem Minister then responsible but from Theresa May.

After 2015 David Cameron took action on equal pay audits:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/14/david-cameron-to-force-companies-to-disclose-gender-pay-gaps

Clearly the BBC, and no doubt other large employers, did not feel too concerned.

The point is that the failure to address unequal pay both underwrites a continuing material inequality at work between women and sends a wider message. That message is: women are not equal so it will be OK to discriminate against them, not just at work but socially too.

These attitudes exist in various ways in all the main parties and indeed on the left too. I suspect in UKIP and the wilder shores of the Tory Party they are seen as unexceptional.

The pressure of bourgeois society and the attitudes it finds acceptable can weigh very heavily on the minds even of people who are trying to change society.

The reality is that while there is a layer of people in society who think sexism is OK there is another layer of people who will not put up with it, excuses for it and inaction about it under any circumstances.

They are to be found in women’s groups, political parties and perhaps most of all trade unions. Despite the 1970 Act, equal pay still needs to be fought for. Labour’s 2017 manifesto ‘For the many, not the few’ pledged to address the gender pay gap. It is work of increasing urgency.

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