Letter: The abolition of wages councils will not help anyone

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The Independent Online
Sir: How right Barrie Clement is (26 August) that the Wages Act, which provides for wages councils, is one of the most important pieces of equalities legislation that we have in this country.

Research conducted by the Pay Equity Project (Narrowing the Gender Pay Gap - How Wages Councils Work for Women, Pay Equity Project, 1993) demonstrates that there has been a consistently narrower gender pay gap in wages council industries for the last 10 years than across industry as a whole.

It also shows that the widest difference between wages councils and industry as a whole is for those women on the lower decile weekly earnings. The difference in 1992 between full- time women's weekly earnings in comparison to men's for this group of workers, as compared to industry as a whole, is 13 points more in non-manual occupations and 12 points more in manual occupations.

Abolition of the wages councils will affect women most, hit black women more, and have the greatest negative impact on the lowest-paid women in wages council industries.

So much for the Government's rhetoric on equal opportunities. You do not provide equality by taking opportunities away from those most in need of them.

Yours sincerely,

KATHY SUTTON

Pay Equity Project

London, SE1

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