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Equality at a price

Equality at a price Editoria l comment leave work to have a family and then LIKE an overloaded camel already for equal pay to receive Parliamentary claim their right under the Act to be re­ buckling at the knees, British industry is approval. instated. about to be saddled with the proverbial In that time, employment of women straw. has steadily increased until they now Who is willingly going to employ and train a woman and then take on a tem­ For adding to the ever-increasing account for a third of the country's porary replacement while she is in burden of wage inflation will be the full total workforce. Yet even today they confinement? What will be the point of weight of equal pay for women at the form a disproportionate minority of skilled trades — something like 25 per training the replacement (indeed, will end of the year. cent and roughly one fifth of manu­ there be enough time) unless another The prospect is, to say the least, dis­ job can be found to coincide with the facturing companies are paying women concerting for those employers who are return to work of her predecessor? 15 per cent less than men doing com­ already badly crippled by soaring labour parable jobs. costs and cannot depend on the crutch These are the sort of unresolved of increased productivity to keep them Significantly, too, the increase in problems which could positively inhibit the advancement of women in craft and upright. female workers has not been matched in managerial careers. union recruitment where membership in Estimates as to how much the full- the clerical and manual sectors is only As one labour relations specialist blooded equal pay policy will add to the noted: "The higher up the career ladder, national wage bill are wide-ranging. The half that of men. the harder it's going to be for a young Department of Employment has put it Again — to draw on the findings of woman to stake her claim, particularly at 3.5 per cent, while the CBI suggests it the Industrial Society survey — the when it comes to temporary replace- will be nearer five per cent. employers' response to equal pay (even ment. The Industrial Society, who did a in the face of legal sanctions) has been tardy. It's reckoned by those who are "I fear that there are certain parts of progress report in 1973 — three years closely monitoring the effects of the the Equal Pay Act which will prove a after the Equal Pay Act reached the positive disservice to women's rights." Act that as much as 25 per cent of statute book — are well and truly hedg­ Yet another problem could confront industry has still to enact or even make ing their bets. They have put the cost at companies with wage agreements where anything between three and 20 per cent. preparations for full implementation. pay differentials are dictated by defin­ But with labour costs rising at the Though the Act is now generally itions of skilled, semi-skilled, unskilled current rate, these calculations have to acknowledged as commendable in prin­ and female labour. be treated conservatively, and it is ciple, there are provisions of it which unlikely that the full impact of giving bear the marks of thoughtless drafting. Women who are at the bottom end of the pay scale are now in a position to women "the full rate for the job" will Already, the implications are giving demand that their earnings are at lea- be known until February or March of rise to genuine grievances from em­ next year. ployers and, ironically enough, from the brought into line with those of their women they are designed to help. unskilled male colleagues. With differ- Meanwhile, for those companies with Put simply, women have been taken entials the source of so many labour a sizeable female labour force who are disputes among the status-conscious into industry not only because they nervously counting the days to Decem­ men, it will be interesting to see ber 29, a bit of sympathy would seem have proved that they can do many jobs whether those who are union members appropriate. as well as — if not better than — men, but because they were invariably are ready to espouse the equal pay Sad to say, though, industry's record cheaper. cause which has been a consistent theme on the equal pay issue has — like that of of the TUC since 1888. But against a background of mount­ successive governments and, for that matter, trade unions — been either ing unemployment, there's going to be Again, on the subject of differentials, neglectful or dismissive. strong union pressure on employers to one factor which could pose serious use men for work which has been in­ problems for management is the likeli­ All too frequently one hears manage­ creasingly done by women. And the hood of government action to curb ment's argument that in labour relations employers, reasoning that it will make the 30 per cent-plus wage rate increases. reform is better achieved by persuasion no financial difference which sex they The situation of a skilled man having to rather than compulsion. That codes of hire, won't put up even token resist­ accept restraint while women are conduct are better than laws. ance. allowed to go some way in obtaining But, while there are doubtless many Studies have shown that labour turn­ "catch up" increases will be fertile companies sufficiently understanding over and absenteeism among men is ground in which to breed resentment. and alert to bring about social reforms generally lower than that among women of their own volition, a look at the It is for reasons such as these that who — admittedly because of family companies who have so far resisted history of the equal pay campaign is a commitments — are also less inclined to doing anything really positive about disturbing endorsement of those who work overtime. equal pay need to act now. advocate that the stick is more effective On top of this, there is the difference Far better to settle any grievances than the carrot. in pension contributions, with women within the factory gate than to have It's taken more than 80 years of retiring five years earlier than men. agitation — punctuated by a Royal them settled for you — to your possible Perhaps the greatest headache, disadvantage — by the Industrial Tri­ Commission in 1944 whose findings though, will be caused by women who bunal. ■ were characteristically pigeonholed — 4 INDUSTRIAL MANAGEMENT http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Industrial Management Emerald Publishing

Equality at a price

Industrial Management , Volume 75 (6): 1 – Jun 1, 1975

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0007-6929
DOI
10.1108/eb056524
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Editoria l comment leave work to have a family and then LIKE an overloaded camel already for equal pay to receive Parliamentary claim their right under the Act to be re­ buckling at the knees, British industry is approval. instated. about to be saddled with the proverbial In that time, employment of women straw. has steadily increased until they now Who is willingly going to employ and train a woman and then take on a tem­ For adding to the ever-increasing account for a third of the country's porary replacement while she is in burden of wage inflation will be the full total workforce. Yet even today they confinement? What will be the point of weight of equal pay for women at the form a disproportionate minority of skilled trades — something like 25 per training the replacement (indeed, will end of the year. cent and roughly one fifth of manu­ there be enough time) unless another The prospect is, to say the least, dis­ job can be found to coincide with the facturing companies are paying women concerting for those employers who are return to work of her predecessor? 15 per cent less than men doing com­ already badly crippled by soaring labour parable jobs. costs and cannot depend on the crutch These are the sort of unresolved of increased productivity to keep them Significantly, too, the increase in problems which could positively inhibit the advancement of women in craft and upright. female workers has not been matched in managerial careers. union recruitment where membership in Estimates as to how much the full- the clerical and manual sectors is only As one labour relations specialist blooded equal pay policy will add to the noted: "The higher up the career ladder, national wage bill are wide-ranging. The half that of men. the harder it's going to be for a young Department of Employment has put it Again — to draw on the findings of woman to stake her claim, particularly at 3.5 per cent, while the CBI suggests it the Industrial Society survey — the when it comes to temporary replace- will be nearer five per cent. employers' response to equal pay (even ment. The Industrial Society, who did a in the face of legal sanctions) has been tardy. It's reckoned by those who are "I fear that there are certain parts of progress report in 1973 — three years closely monitoring the effects of the the Equal Pay Act which will prove a after the Equal Pay Act reached the positive disservice to women's rights." Act that as much as 25 per cent of statute book — are well and truly hedg­ Yet another problem could confront industry has still to enact or even make ing their bets. They have put the cost at companies with wage agreements where anything between three and 20 per cent. preparations for full implementation. pay differentials are dictated by defin­ But with labour costs rising at the Though the Act is now generally itions of skilled, semi-skilled, unskilled current rate, these calculations have to acknowledged as commendable in prin­ and female labour. be treated conservatively, and it is ciple, there are provisions of it which unlikely that the full impact of giving bear the marks of thoughtless drafting. Women who are at the bottom end of the pay scale are now in a position to women "the full rate for the job" will Already, the implications are giving demand that their earnings are at lea- be known until February or March of rise to genuine grievances from em­ next year. ployers and, ironically enough, from the brought into line with those of their women they are designed to help. unskilled male colleagues. With differ- Meanwhile, for those companies with Put simply, women have been taken entials the source of so many labour a sizeable female labour force who are disputes among the status-conscious into industry not only because they nervously counting the days to Decem­ men, it will be interesting to see ber 29, a bit of sympathy would seem have proved that they can do many jobs whether those who are union members appropriate. as well as — if not better than — men, but because they were invariably are ready to espouse the equal pay Sad to say, though, industry's record cheaper. cause which has been a consistent theme on the equal pay issue has — like that of of the TUC since 1888. But against a background of mount­ successive governments and, for that matter, trade unions — been either ing unemployment, there's going to be Again, on the subject of differentials, neglectful or dismissive. strong union pressure on employers to one factor which could pose serious use men for work which has been in­ problems for management is the likeli­ All too frequently one hears manage­ creasingly done by women. And the hood of government action to curb ment's argument that in labour relations employers, reasoning that it will make the 30 per cent-plus wage rate increases. reform is better achieved by persuasion no financial difference which sex they The situation of a skilled man having to rather than compulsion. That codes of hire, won't put up even token resist­ accept restraint while women are conduct are better than laws. ance. allowed to go some way in obtaining But, while there are doubtless many Studies have shown that labour turn­ "catch up" increases will be fertile companies sufficiently understanding over and absenteeism among men is ground in which to breed resentment. and alert to bring about social reforms generally lower than that among women of their own volition, a look at the It is for reasons such as these that who — admittedly because of family companies who have so far resisted history of the equal pay campaign is a commitments — are also less inclined to doing anything really positive about disturbing endorsement of those who work overtime. equal pay need to act now. advocate that the stick is more effective On top of this, there is the difference Far better to settle any grievances than the carrot. in pension contributions, with women within the factory gate than to have It's taken more than 80 years of retiring five years earlier than men. agitation — punctuated by a Royal them settled for you — to your possible Perhaps the greatest headache, disadvantage — by the Industrial Tri­ Commission in 1944 whose findings though, will be caused by women who bunal. ■ were characteristically pigeonholed — 4 INDUSTRIAL MANAGEMENT

Journal

Industrial ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 1, 1975

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