Mind the ethnicity pay gap

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A London council became the first to call for better reporting of the ethnicity pay gap.

A London council became the first to call for better reporting of the ethnicity pay gap. On Monday (18th March) a motion was passed by councillors in Newham calling for more to be done to combat the ethnicity gap across the borough. This follows a similar GMB motion passed by Assembly Members on Thursday 6th July, 2023 at the Greater London Authority.

A recent survey conducted by GMB London, one of the UK’s largest unions, has shown that there is a significant disparity in pay for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic workers. The GMB London survey illustrated that among London’s public sector employees, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff take home on average 37% less than white colleagues. In both the public and the private sectors people have reported favouritism, management bias and malpractice across companies and workplaces to their union.

The Resolution Foundation found that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic workers lose £3.2bn a year in wages compared to their white colleagues. During the current period of high inflation and a cost of living crisis, diminishing incomes have forced a disproportionate number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people into poverty.

This has led to calls from both GMB and many councillors to close the gap on pay. The motion that passed has called on the annual reporting of the ethnicity pay gap within each council. It also asks the borough to devise and implement annual plans to proactively ensure there are no bars to recruitment, training, salary levels or promotion in relation to a person’s race. The impact of the motion will also be felt throughout the local economy, with both councils agreeing to work with suppliers, contractors and partners to seek best practice on the important issue.

Warren Kenny, GMB London Regional Secretary, said:

“To fix gross disparities in workers’ pay we must firstly have an honest debate. We know people face discrimination in the workplace, but this social and economic ill is often hidden by a lack of reporting and swept under a carpet. We are asking councils across our great city to say ‘no more’ and pass the ethnicity pay gap motion when asked”.

Abdi Mohamed, Chair of GMB Race, GMB London’s self-organised group for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic workers, added:

“There is a great deal of work to do on the link between race and pay, but by councils passing this motion they are making a significant step forward. When faced with tangible facts, we gain better policies that protect us all. Ethnicity pay gap reporting helps any employer look in the mirror and improve. I’m pleased to say this motion passing means some of the largest employers in our local communities, councils, are now starting to lead by example.”

For more information please contact GMB London Region Press Office 079 7001 9643.