HC Deb 17 December 1975 vol 902 cc645-6W
Mr. Kilroy-Silk

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what action he intends to take against any company which does not have equal pay by 29th December 1975.

Mr. John Fraser

As from 29th December 1975, individual women will be able to enforce their rights to equal pay before an industrial tribunal. It has always been our intention that breaches of the Act should normally be dealt with in this way, although the Equal Opportunities Commission will have powers to assist individual complainants in appropriate cases and to conduct investigations where, for example, it believes that a company may not be complying with the provisions of the Act. Where, however, it comes to the notice of my right hon. Friend that a company is a party to a discriminatory collective agreement or is operating a discriminatory pay structure he will not hesitate to use his powers under Section 3 of the Equal Pay Act to refer the agreement or pay structure to the Industrial Arbitration Board—the Central Arbitration Committee after 1st February 1976—provided that he has adequate details of the agreement or pay structure and of the provisions in it which are believed to be discriminatory.