Thursday, 26 June 2008

Some are more equal than others

Typical broad-minded and unbiased reporting of the new Equalities Bill on the front page of today's Daily Mail and Daily Express. The Express headline reads: "White men face jobs ban. New law favours ethnics and women." (Ethnics? Erm... I don't think you're actually meant to say that, are you?)

Anyway, it's not true. The new Bill will mean that a firm will be able to choose a woman over a man of equal ability - or vice versa - without falling foul of discrimination laws. If a managing director decides he/ she needs more women at board level, or if a headteacher decides that the school needs more male teachers, they'll be able to use positive discrimination to redress the imbalance. The Bill will also introduce compulsory pay audits for large firms and public bodies, to try to reduce the gender pay gap; something on which the unions have been campaigning for a long time. And age discrimination will be banned but Club 18-30 won't. Well that's a relief.

1 comment:

thebristolblogger said...

The middle market tabloids are on to something here though. It's just unfortunate that their public schoolboy writers with their finely attuned ears for the nuances of middle England (which seems to mean anyone over 75 or who lives in Shropshire and doesn't get out very much) haven't got the foggiest idea what it is.

In reality this kind of legislation is extremely bad for men in manual/semi-skilled trades.

At Bristol City Council they've been enacting this kind equal pay policy for some time.

And what's happened is that decent long-term enhancements, overtime payments and shift allowances in overwhelmingly male lines of work have been scrapped to bring them in to line with equivalent overwhelmingly female lines of work.

Off the top of my head I can think of machine operators at rubbish dumps (surely now recycling resource centres?) who have had real pay cut by about a third and residential caretakers who are to lose their free accomodation.

But I suppose that's equality ...