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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 January, 2004, 04:57 GMT
Pay gap 'affects men too' - union
Family relaxing together
Families pay the price of the gender pay gap, Amicus says
A union is launching a campaign to convince men that equal pay is an issue for whole families, not just women.

Amicus claims that the 21% pay differential between men and women can lead to increasing debt for families.

The union will be asking men in workplaces whether the pay gap makes it more difficult for them to pay off their Christmas credit card bill.

Equal Opportunities Commission figures show a family misses out on 7,622.40 a year as a result of the pay difference.

That is down to the fact that the average woman's wage is 635.20 less a month than for a man.

Amicus says the annual pay difference could cover the cost of a 14 night, all-expenses-paid, holiday for two adults and two children at Disneyland - which costs around 5,884.

Under pressure

The union added the campaign is also timely as credit card lending reached record levels in 2003 - with Bank of England figures showing consumer borrowing has risen to 906bn, 13% up on last year.

Analysts have warned the figure could head much higher in 2004.

Amicus equal opportunities secretary Rachel Maskill said: "It is no longer enough for people to think about Equal Pay as a 'women's' campaign. It is a family campaign.

"UK families are under too much pressure with loan repayments and credit card bills to simply be asked to shoulder the fact that one part of the family income is 21% less than the legal rate.

"When the credit card bills come in families realise how unfair it is that women are paid less than men. The Equal Pay Act became law 30 years ago and women workers are still waiting."

The union is now pushing for the government to change the law to force employers to carry out equal pay tests to ensure men and women get the same salary for performing the same job.

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