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Low pay of women lecturers requires mandatory equal pay reviews

5 September 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU has warned the government that its proposed single equality law will make it even harder to tackle low pay among women academics.

The union today called for higher education employers to comply with the commitment given last year to conduct equal pay reviews and called generally for mandatory reviews that require employers to correct unjustifiable pay inequalities.

The government's consultation closed this week on its proposals for introducing a single equality act, outlined in the green paper 'A Framework for Fairness: Proposals for a Single Equality Bill for Great Britain'.

UCU believes many of the proposals in the green paper would have a detrimental effect on colleges and universities and the union has submitted a highly critical response, as have many organisations championing equality.

The equality duties for race, disability and gender, placed on all public authorities, have forced colleges and universities to take the promotion of equality seriously by monitoring, undertaking equality impact assessments of all policies and practices and having an action plan with a specific timetable for improving areas where equality is lacking. UCU believes the government's proposed version of a single equality duty would greatly water down these duties to the simple setting of a few priorities.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The government proposals for a single equality duty would greatly water down what is required from colleges and universities to challenge unfairness and discrimination. The proposals are also very weak on equal pay. They largely consist of transposing the Equal Pay Act, which has so spectacularly failed to deliver, into a single equality act.

'With the gender pay gap for academic staff in HE still at 14.1%, UCU believes a much more radical approach is needed, with equal pay reviews mandatory on all employers, and a requirement to take action to reduce the pay gap within a specified timetable. 

'UCU is urging the government not to waste this opportunity to produce stronger, simpler and more consistent anti-discrimination legislation which also encourages the positive promotion of equality. The current proposals are simply a wasted opportunity. '