Scottish independence: Greens’ pay gap review call

SCOTLAND needs control of employment law to force companies to measure and publish their pay gap between men and women, according to the Scottish Greens.
Scottish Greens: Equal pay proposal. Picture: TSPLScottish Greens: Equal pay proposal. Picture: TSPL
Scottish Greens: Equal pay proposal. Picture: TSPL

Companies that saw their gender gap published in the press would soon bring their salaries into line, Green MSP Alison Johnstone said.

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The devolved Scottish Government can ask companies to publish their pay scales but only independence would give them the power to compel them to do so, she said.

Announcing the policy outside the Scottish Parliament, Ms Johnstone dismissed suggestions that she was advocating a “name and shame” campaign, preferring the term “measure and publish”.

She also dismissed suggestions that men’s pay would have to come down to balance the books, insisting equal pay is a “win-win” that promotes economic growth through greater female spending.

“In order to see change we would certainly like to see private companies measure any discrepancies,” she said.

“Probably some of them will be unaware of this as an issue, but if they were to measure any of these discrepancies and publish them I have no doubt at all that some private companies would want to do the right thing.

“They will probably be quite surprised that there is such a gender pay gap, but the latest Scottish Government figures suggest women are paid 13% less than men in full-time jobs and an incredible 34% less in part-time jobs.”

She added: “The Equal Pay Act is reserved to Westminster so it’s very difficult to see any change and Westminster doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to address this issue.

“The Scottish Government could ask (companies to publish equal pay data), but because employment legislation is reserved to Westminster they don’t have the power that Westminster does and we haven’t seen any noticeable change recently.

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“If you measure and publish you would have an awareness. No company would want to find themselves published in the newspapers with a considerable gap that looked as if they weren’t making efforts to address it.”

When asked if men’s pay would have to come down, she said: “I don’t really see that as the case.

“Look at what governments do to address various situations with quantitative easing and so on.

“If you address equal pay you would actually inject a great deal of finance back into the economy.

“You would boost the spending power of those women and you would see that reflected in retail, leisure, travel, so there would be greater receipts generated and taxation. It’s a win-win.”