Unison boss challenges Government to fork out for equal pay

The Government needs to “put its money where its mouth is” to close the gender pay gap in the public sector, according to the head of trade union Unison.

Later today, Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, will give evidence to the Women and Work Commission, where he will say that money is the major block to achieving equal pay in the public sector.

The Women and Work Commission, announced last year by trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt, will make recommendations to the Government on tackling the pay gap between men and women when it reports next autumn.

Unison represents more than a million women in the public sector.

Prentis will say that in local government alone it would cost £2bn to close the pay gap.

“Councils are expected to achieve equal pay in a climate where they are being told to make cuts in their budgets,” he will say. “They should not be forced into a position of choosing between equal pay and delivering essential services to the public.

“The Government was prepared to commit additional funding to achieve equal pay in the NHS through the Agenda for Change, but it is clear that money is the major block to achieving equal pay in vast areas of the public sector and it is up to the Government to put the money where its mouth is,” Prentis will tell the commission.

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