Three Case-Studies by the UK Team
First Case Study: the rail sector in the UK is perhaps the most controversial story of the privatisation of a public service. Collective bargaining in the rail sector takes place at the company level. There are three main trade unions (ASLEF, RMT and the TSSA). The Fair and Transparent Pay Project is the outcome of a pay dispute in 2011. Following the failure to agree on the proposed pay offer in 2011, the TSSA decided to launch a survey of its members to ascertain the strength of feeling in relation to the current pay offer, performance related pay and pay levels more generally. The survey asked a series of questions (Appendix A), amongst which were questions on pay bands, levels of pay and gender. Approximately 1,200 members completed the survey. The analysis of the pay data revealed that, in some grades, there was a clear tendency for women to earn less than men.
Second Case-Study: Local government in the UK is the second tier of public administration, which is regionally based. Local authority workforces exhibit pronounced gender segregation. Care services and education services dominate local government employment and are largely carried out by women who make up 76% of local government employees, whilst environmental services and town planning are largely carried out by men. The SSA was a ground breaking national agreement signed in 1997 for England and Wales. The stated aim of the SSA is to harmonise the terms and conditions of manual and allied professional, technical and clerical (APT&C) workers in local government, who were previously employed on a wide array of formal and informal arrangements, and to merge the national negotiating structures to accommodate this. Although the main aim of the SSA was to introduce a single national pay spine for all workers in local government, it is interesting to note that closing the GPG or attaining equal pay is not specifically referred to in the agreement document. However it was quite clear that once a single pay spine, single table collective bargaining and job evaluation was under way the extent of pay inequality became apparent.