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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 08:06 GMT
Firms pressured over equal pay
Women engineer on phone
On average, women are paid 19% less than male colleagues
A UK trade union is attempting to force Rolls Royce, BAE Systems and other leading employers to reveal whether or not they offer equal rates of pay to men and women.

The Manufacturing, Science and Finance Union says that companies which refuse to provide details will be 'named and shamed' in the new year.

A total of 10,000 businesses will be asked to take part in MSF's equal pay audit, including blue-chip firms such as Rolls Royce, BAE Systems, Royal Sun Alliance, and Legal & General.

The targeted firms will be contacted on Thursday, and will be given until the end of January to reply.

MSF expects to publish its final 'list of shame' in February.

Pay gap getting wider

MSF said its campaign is designed to put employers under pressure to do more to eliminate the gender pay gap.

"Studies show that the pay gap is increasing. Employer voluntarism is making the problem worse," said MSF head of campaigns Richard O'Brien.

However, he stressed that confidential details about company pay scales will not be made public.

Earlier this month, a report commissioned by the government found that women are paid on average 19% less than men, and are 'clustered' in lower-paid jobs.

In March, the Equal Opportunities Commission estimated the average gender pay gap at 18%.

Employer concerns

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt has called for a 'cultural change' among employers over women's pay, but the government has stopped short of forcing employers to reveal pay disparities.

Business groups oppose moves designed to force greater transparency over male and female rates of pay.

The Confederation of British Industry has expressed fears that limited measures aimed at enabling women to find out if they are paid the same as their male colleagues could be used as a 'blank cheque for employees to find out how much their colleagues earn."

See also:

25 Nov 01 | Business
16 Nov 00 | Business
13 Aug 01 | Business
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27 Aug 01 | Business
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27 Mar 01 | Business
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