HC Deb 06 August 1976 vol 916 cc1134-5W
Mr. Brittan

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in the light of the decision of the European Court of Justice in Defrenne v. Sabena Airlines, he will introduce legislation to ensure that the following rights can be enforced in courts or tribunals in the United Kingdom under Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome over and additional to those which can be enforced under the Equal Pay Act 1970 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975; (a) for women successfully to claim to be paid equally with men when they are doing work of equal value to work done by men even though they are not doing work which is identical to that done by men, (b) for women to claim equality in pension and retirement provision, and (c) for women to claim equal pay retrospectively for periods prior to the 29th December 1975.

Mr. John Grant

The European Court's judgment in the case of Defrenne v. Sabena, given on 8th April 1976, was that Article 119 is directly applicable in relation to equal pay for equal work in the same establishement, is capable of being invoked before national courts, and has had direct effect since 1962 in the orignial six member States and 1973 in the new member States. However, the court ruled that no one could claim backdated equal pay under Article 119, unless they had already instituted proceedings before 8th April 1976.

The Government do not propose to introduce new legislation as a result of this judgment. The Council of the European Communities issued a directive in February 1975 concerning the application of the principle of equal pay contained in Article 119 of the Treaty of

Industry June 1976 June 1975 June 1974
Construction 199,947 149,834 92,759
Bricks, fireclay and refactory goods 3,360 2,921 1,508
Glass 4,521 3,204 1,771
Cement 866 335 163