MSF to shame firms which shirk from equal pay audits

The MSF union is pushing for
equality of  pay for women in 2002 by
demanding equal pay audits from employers.

The union has sent out letters
to 10,000 employers demanding that they carry out an equal pay audit. The names
of companies that refuse to carry out an audit will be published in a "list
of shame" in the New Year.

The union aims to survey every UK
company in the sectors it covers by the end of 2002. Two lists will be
published: an A-list of all those companies who agree to undertake audits and a
B-list of those who refuse or fail to reply.

The insurance giant Legal and
General has already agreed to carry out an equal pay audit of its 6,000 staff.

The union’s action follows
recommendations made in the Kingsmill report (5 December 2001) which revealed
an increase in the pay gap between men and women from 18 per cent to 19 per
cent and urged employers to carry out audits voluntarily.

The MSF has been campaigning
for the audits to be made mandatory in the face of opposition from the CBI and
Institute of Directors.

"We expect that most of
the companies we do business with will be happy to carry out voluntary audits.
However, bad employers who discriminate against women will refuse, and
thousands of women will continue to be cheated out of money they are entitled
to. Mandatory pay audits are the only way to equal pay," said MSF equalities
officer Gail Cartmail.

MSF General Secretary Roger
Lyons said, "It is a disgrace that 31 years after the Equal Pay Act the
pay gap between men and women in the UK is increasing.

"If the CBI and the IOD
seriously believe there is no pay discrimination against women they should be
encouraging their members to audit and put an end to the pay gap.

"We hope that through our
campaign we can bring hope to millions of women who face discrimination at work
and expose those bad employers who oppose Equal Pay Audits."

By Ben Willmott

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