Just 0.002 per cent of the thousands of companies trade union Amicus asked
to undertake an equal pay audit have actually done so.
The union wrote to more than 9,000 companies in December 2001, asking them to
check men and women’s pay rates. Just 1 per cent agreed to do so, and it was
revealed last week that since then, only two per cent of these have completed
Gail Cartmail, Amicus national secretary for equalities, said the figures
show that employers will not undertake equal pay audits unless they are forced
to do so.
"This shows that the voluntary approach advocated by government and
employers’ organisations doesn’t work," she said. "The only way is to
make pay audits compulsory."
The union also wants men to strike if employers do not pay their female
counterparts an equal wage.
It has asked male union members to sign an equal pay charter which supports
strike action if employers refuse to conduct equal pay audits to uncover where
and how pay gaps appear.
Amicus claims the only reason a company would refuse to carry out an equal
pay audit is to conceal discrimination against women in the workplace.
Last week, a report by the Equal Opportunities Commission revealed that only
18 per cent of large employers and 10 per cent of medium-sized employers have
actually conducted a pay review, or are in the process of doing one.
The majority (54 per cent of large and 67 per cent of medium-sized
employers), do not plan to carry out a pay review at all.