Tuesday, December 23, 2014

News: Champion's equal pay bill passed

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Sarah Champion, Member of Parliament for Rotherham, has helped women everywhere take a big step forward in the fight for equal pay.

A Ten-Minute Rule Bill from Sarah, which fights against pay inequality for women, was overwhelmingly supported by MPs in a House of Commons vote which passed with 258 voting in support of the bill.

The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1970 but Champion stated in the House that women in Britain still earn on average only 81p for every pound earned by men, and in the constituency of Rotherham that drops to an average of 77p.

The proposed Bill demands that companies with more than 250 employees publish figures on their pay gap between men and women. Sarah told Parliament that the voluntary agreement currently in place was clearly failing, as it has seen only five companies taking part.

In her speech, Sarah also pointed out that it is not just women who are poorer because of the pay gap; it is their families too. She told MPs that no father, husband or son wants the woman they care about to work in a world where they are valued less for being a woman.

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Earlier in the day, Sarah was joined at a rally by some of the original women of T&G Ford Dagenham, who left their machines 48 years ago to strike for equal pay, along with actors from the musical "Made in Dagenham" including Bond girl Gemma Arterton and representatives from Grazia Magazine.

Speaking after the Bill was passed, Sarah Champion MP, said: "It's 48 years since the historic strike by the women at T&G Ford Dagenham and 44 years since the Equal Pay Act 1970 was passed, however it is still no more than a promise. Hopefully what we have done today can help make that promise into a reality.

"Pay transparency will push companies to focus on the reasons why the pay gap still exists."

A second reading will now take place on February 27 2015.

Images: Sarah Champion MP

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