17:50 Wednesday 05 February 2014

Wages action call as pay gap branded 'unacceptable'

Written byLAURA HAMMOND

A PAY gap between male and female workers in Burton has been described as ‘worrying’ and ‘unacceptable’.

Figures show that women working full time earn £185 a week less, on average, than their male counterparts, taking home £411.4 a week.

The amount sits below the national average for women, of £459.6 a week, and well below the mean weekly pay for all workers, which is £558.3.

Paul Walker, chairman of the Burton branch of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, said: “This causes huge concerns when it comes to equality. Female workers are involved in an ongoing struggle for equal pay right across the country and to see that female workers in Burton are being paid less than the national and regional average is a worrying development.

“This is an issue we as a union will be continuing to monitor as we believe that workers of both genders deserve to be paid fairly and treated equally without discrimination.”

He called for action from town MP Andrew Griffiths, who agreed the matter ‘unacceptable’ when he was approached by the Mail.

“It’s really disappointing that, in 2014, we still have a situation where women are paid less than men.

“In every walk of life and every business we see women competing and doing an equally food job as their male counterparts and it’s completely unacceptable they continue to be paid less.”

He said more needed to be done to make sure women were aware of careers available in all sectors, to break down the notion that some jobs are more suitable for men or women.

“We still see boys being given screwdrivers and tools and girls getting sewing kits and we need to do more to make girls of school age aware that engineering and manufacturing as roles that women can excel in.

“We need to ensure there is no inequality in pay, but also in opportunity when thinking about careers.”

His Labour rival, prospective parliamentary candidate Jon Wheale, told the Mail it was vital that women’s wages did not fall behind the rest of the region

“What is needed are good rates of pay for women as well as for men. Women workers deserve better,” he added.

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