Government report on equal pay misses the point, say unions

The government-appointed Women and Work Commission has made 40 recommendations in its report aimed at boosting the pay and career prospects of women, and closing the wage gap.

However, unions and campaign groups have criticised the commission for not recommending that companies should carry out mandatory equal pay audits to make sure that women were not being paid less than men.

Derek Simpson, general secretary of Amicus, said the report had deliberately missed the point.

The report, Shaping A Fairer Future, suggested action to tackle the culture in schools and workplaces that created job segregation and left women lagging behind men on pay.

Schemes should be set up to give schoolgirls a better understanding of pay and prospects in different careers, as well as improved training for women returning to work after having a child.

The commission, headed by Baroness Prosser, also called for a national World of Work programme to improve vocational training and offer work-taster days for primary school children.

Baroness Prosser said: “Many women are working day in, day out far below their abilities and this waste of talent is an outrage at a time when the UK is facing increasing competition in the global marketplace – and an outrage for those women personally.”

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