Women and work group ready to publish report on gender pay gap: equality

The Women and Work Commission was due to unveil its long-awaited recommendations on closing the gender pay gap yesterday alongside Tony Blair and Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street.

According to a copy of the report seen by Personnel Today, the commission has called for the appointment of ‘equality representatives’ at all medium and large employers to police levels of pay. However, it has rejected proposals pushed by trade unions and the Equal Opportunities Commission for mandatory pay audits.

One controversial proposal outlined in the report is the introduction of class actions. Although the report did not call outright for such litigation to go ahead – where a single individual would be able to represent a whole series of people in court for a test case against an employer, as happens in the US – it said that the issue “should be looked at further”.

The report, originally scheduled for publication before Christmas, was delayed by two months because of wrangling among members of the commission, which has been led by Baroness Prosser.

Whitehall sources said the Downing Street launch of the report signalled the government’s intention to carry out its recommendations, unlike those of other papers such as the Tomlinson report on education reform.

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