New analysis of official figures by Labour has revealed that women in Stockton North are being paid only 81 pence for every pound a man earns, and Alex Cunningham has aired his concerns that this means women in the constituency will work for free for the next 57 days.
The revelation comes as Equal Pay Day – the day that women across the UK effectively start working for free due to the gender pay gap – arrives three days earlier this year because the pay gap is back on the rise under the Conservative-led Coalition Government. A recent World Economic Forum report also saw the UK fall out of the top 20 countries on gender equality, citing falling female earnings and a rise in the gender pay gap as key factors.
It is estimated that a quarter of all working women in the UK are now earning less than the living wage. Six million women are thought to be working in part-time jobs, which pay as much as one-third less per hour than a full-time role, as well as making up a majority of those on zero hours contracts.
A Labour government will ask big companies with over 250 staff to publish their average hourly pay gap each year to expose whether men and women are being paid differently for doing the same work, and whether too few women occupy senior positions.
“These shocking figures show the full extent of the gap in pay between men and women. I am absolutely appalled that, in David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s Britain, not only do women get paid less than men but things are steadily getting worse.
“Progress to close the pay gap has ground to a halt since 2010. While the previous Labour government closed the pay gap by almost one-third, and almost eliminated the gap entirely for women under 40, women across the North East are now feeling the squeeze once more as figures reveal the shocking truth that they earn only 81 pence for every pound that men earn.
“Worryingly, the pay gap actually grew last year and, at the current rate of progress, it will be over 100 years from Labour’s Equal Pay Act 1970 until we see the delivery of full pay equality. Only Labour will require companies to publish the hourly wage pay gap of their employees so that together we can take the steps to deliver equal pay for women and men across the country.”
Gloria De Piero MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said: “Women are working an extra three days for free this year because the pay gap is back on the rise. Women shouldn’t have to wait another 50 years for equal pay, which is why Labour will be calling a vote in Parliament to get big companies to publish their pay gap. If this Government doesn’t act, a Labour government will.”