Labour vows to bring in ethnicity pay gap reporting

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA Images

A Labour government would introduce ethnicity pay gap reporting and consider the introduction of “blind CVs” to help tackle discrimination.

The party’s Race and Faith Manifesto states that it would extend pay gap reporting to black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups for businesses with 250 employees or more.

It would also launch an inquiry into name-based discrimination within its first 100 days in government, if it wins power at next month’s general election, and consider rolling out “name-blind” recruitment.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Labour is the party of equality and human rights. Our Race and Faith Manifesto presents our unshakable commitment to challenge the inequalities and discrimination that has faced to many communities.

“Whatever your background, wherever you are from, whatever your faith or religious belief, you should have the chance to use your talents to fulfil your potential. Labour will tackle head on the barriers that have unfairly held back so many people and communities.”

The document, launched today (26 November), says: “Race still plays a real role in determining pay. Far too many BAME workers are stuck in insecure and temporary work, which not only has a huge impact on their life chances but also widens the pay gap. In some public services, the ethnic minority pay gap is 37%.

“No matter how unbiased some employers think they are, subconscious negative opinion about people outside their own ethnic group occurs on a regular basis. Our biggest companies must demonstrate that background is not a barrier to progress and success. In both the public and the private sector, the lack of diversity within middle and senior management roles continues.”

Labour said it would also review the under-representation of BAME teachers, professors and senior managers in education and create a comprehensive strategy to recruit and retain BAME teachers.

The document says: “The shortage of black teachers is a national issue. Representation is still not in line with British society. For example, according to government figures, black African teachers made up only 1.3% of male teachers and 0.7% of female teachers, and white British teachers (86.7% of the sector) become 92.6% of headteachers.

“Relative to the population as a whole, academic staff are half as likely to be black, and the proportion of black academic staff has increased by 0.15% since 2014/15.”

Other proposals to improve equality and tackle discrimination include:

  • creating a “race equality unit” within the Treasury, which would review spending announcements for their impact on BAME communities
  • ensuring the National Investment Bank is committed to addressing discrimination in access to finance, which Labour claimed many BAME business owners face
  • improving training for Home Office staff on religious belief and practice
  • conducing an urgent review into the implementation of all BAME shortlists
  • introducing unconscious bias training for all selection panel members in the public sector.

The manifesto was launched following a consultation that received more than 1,700 online responses and consultation events across the UK that discussed the issues affecting BAME and religious communities.

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