HC Deb 25 November 1968 vol 774 cc22-3
24. Mr. Speed

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many discussions she has initiated on equal pay for equal work; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Castle

There is nothing I can usefully add to the statement supplied by my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary on 8th November, 1968, in reply to a Question from the hon. Member for Clapham (Mrs. McKay).—[Vol. 772, c. 174–5.]

Mr. Speed

Is it still Government policy that equal pay for equal work will be reached in industry and commerce by June 1975? When will a start be made towards implementing the policy?

Mrs. Castle

I announced to the House in June that we were proceeding to work out a timetable for the phased introduction of equal pay with both sides of industry. In accordance with that statement, I immediately started those discussions with both sides, and work on them is continuing.

Dr. Gray

Will my right hon. Friend look at the problems of towns like Great Yarmouth, where women find work much more easily than men and where it is essential that women's wages should be made more equal to men's so that men's wages are not depreciated?

Mrs. Castle

I think that there is general realisation by men in industry that their interests can only suffer if women are discriminated against on the question of wages.

Mr. John Page

Will the right hon. Lady bear in mind that the move towards equal pay in the banks is being asked to be specially reported on by the Prices and Incomes Board, to which she has referred bank pay today?

Mrs. Castle

The Board will be examining the whole of the settlement and how it conforms as a whole with the ceiling and with the policy. The relative distribution of increases between men and women within the ceiling and within the policy is a matter for the negotiating parties.