[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC Onepolitics show


Last Updated: Sunday, 18 February 2007, 09:21 GMT
Equal pay
This weekend on the Politics Show Gill Dummigan examines the challenges facing local authorities who are having to reassess hundreds of thousands of employees' pay packets.

Historically, jobs done mainly by women, like school cooks, have been paid much lower than traditionally male jobs like bin collectors.

Councils were given 10 years to sort the differences - that time is up at the end of March.

Jenny Watson
Jenny Watson, Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission

We asked Jenny Watson, Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, what people can do if they think they're being paid less than a colleague for doing the same job.

Jenny advised:

1) Talk to someone else before you talk to your employer: for help and advice, or just to rehearse your case. You can speak to a Trade Union representative if you have one, or you can contact the EOC helpline on 0845 5901 601. And use a friend for a rehearsal before you talk to your boss.

2) Gather information on the job you and a colleague of the opposite sex are doing, such as job title, job description, qualifications, length of service, hours, pay and terms and conditions. To help get this information, you can ask your employer to fill out an equal pay questionnaire (available from the EOC's website) or your union may be able to help. It is helpful to record or keep a diary of the tasks you and your colleague are doing, detailing the time and skills required to do each task.

3) If you are still employed, take your evidence to your manager, employer or union. Explain that you think you are not receiving equal pay to that of your colleague and ask them to explain the difference. An equal pay dispute can be resolved informally through your manager, employer or union. In fact, they may welcome this being brought to their attention if they haven't realised there's a problem as it helps them to avoid risks in the future.

4) If an informal approach does not work or you are no longer employed, you can lodge a grievance, such as a written complaint. Your employer may have its own grievance procedure. However, if it does not there are statutory grievance procedures available. The procedure should detail the steps to be taken by you and your employer and the timescales for each step.

5) If you are not satisfied with the way in which your employer is dealing with your grievance, you may wish to consider legal options. If you wish to take this matter further at an Employment Tribunal, you must wait 28 days from the date of lodging your grievance with your employer before lodging an Employment Tribunal claim. You should get legal advice before you lodge an Employment Tribunal claim.

Have you got a story about low pay? Let us know what you think.

The Politics Show Sunday 25 February 2007 at 12.00pm on BBC One.

You can reach the programme by e-mail at the usual address or you can use the form below to e-mail the Politics Show.

You will be returned to the Politics Show website after submitting the form.

Send us your comments:

Your E-mail address:

Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all emails will be published.


Politics from around the UK...

The Politics Show Newsletter
14 Jan 07 |  Politics Show

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific