§ 9. Mrs. Joyce Butler
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will seek powers to 153W ensure that women obtain equal pay when the present period of wage restraint ends.
§ 62. Mr. David Howell
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether she will now announce the date and place of her proposed conference with both sides of industry to work out a seven-year timetable for the advance towards equal pay for men and women doing equal work.
§ Mrs. Castle
I announced last week that I proposed to enter into immediate discussions with both sides of industry with a view to agreeing a timetable for phasing in the full implementation of equal pay over an appropriate period. I have invited leaders of the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress to join me in discussions at the earliest convenient date.
§ 49. Mr. Holland
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what action she has taken about the recent industrial action by women employees of the Ford Motor Company to obtain equal pay; and if she will make a statement on her policy with regard to equal pay in the light of this dispute.
§ Mrs. Castle
As the House will know, I have appointed a Court of Inquiry under the chairmanship of Sir Jack Scamp. At its initial sitting on 27th June, the court made an appeal for an immediate return to work. I pursued this point in discussions on the following day with representatives of the employees on strike, the unions concerned and the company. As a result of these discussions and in the light of the fact that a full and impartial investigation into the dispute is to be carried out by the Court of Inquiry and of the calling of a meeting of the Ford National Joint Negotiating Committee today to discuss the relativity between women's and men's rates it was agreed that an mmediate resumption of work should be recommended to a meeting of the employees concerned. This recommendation was unanimously accepted by the employees concerned yesterday and154W there has been a full return to work this morning.
The Government fully support the principle of equal pay and welcome settlements which make progress towards equal pay within the framework of the prices and incomes policy.
§ 60. Mr. Tom Boardman
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what is the estimate of the annual increase in salaries and wages in order to achieve her aim of equal pay for women within seven years.
§ Mrs. Castle
Depending upon the definition used, broad estimates prepared by my Department indicate that equal pay might be expected to add directly between 3 and 5 per cent. to the national wage and salary bill. Spread over a period of seven years this would very roughly entail a cumulative addition of one half to one per cent. each year.
§ Sir E. Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether she has now made contact with the Confederation of British Industry and the trade unions for the purposes of implementing equal pay for equal work; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mr. Speed
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (1) what is the average annual increase in wages in percentage terms required to make the earnings of female workers in the pottery industry equal to those of male workers doing the same work within the next seven years;
(2) what is the average annual increase in wages, in percentage terms, required to make the earnings of female workers in the catering industry equal to those of male workers doing the same work within the next seven years.
§ Mrs. Castle
Information is not at present available on the numbers of women doing the same work as men in these industries, nor on their respective earnings. Studies of the cost implications for particular sectors of applying equal pay are being carried out by a joint group of officials from the C.B.I., the T.U.C., and my own Department.