Ban Pay ‘Gagging Clauses’ Says TUC

Striking cleaners at South Bank University show the discrepancy between their wages and that of the vice-chancellor

NEARLY a fifth (18%) of workers have been told they’re not allowed to discuss their pay with co-workers, according to new TUC/GQR polling published today.

The TUC is calling for a ban on pay secrecy or ‘gagging’ clauses, which prevent workers from challenging unfair pay, discrimination and excessive top-to-bottom pay ratios.
The research also found that:

  • Half (50%) of workers don’t know what senior managers in their organisations are paid.
  • More than half (53%) of workers are not given information about other people’s pay in their organisation.
  • Fewer than one in five (18%) report that their workplace has a transparent pay policy, where salary details are available to everyone through an official source.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
‘Pay secrecy clauses are a get out of jail free card for bad bosses.
‘They stop workers from challenging unfair pay, allow top executives to hoard profits and encourage discrimination against women and disabled people.
‘Talking about pay can feel a bit uncomfortable, but more openness about wages is essential to building fairer workplaces.’
What needs to change?
The TUC is calling on government to:

  • Ban pay secrecy clauses outright so that everyone can talk about their pay and other work benefits to anyone and for any reason.
  • Deliver stronger union rights so that trade unions can ensure transparent and fair processes for setting pay rates.
  • Commit to introducing the cutting-edge pay transparency measures being considered at European level.

The Equality Act 2010 already places restrictions on pay secrecy clauses, making them unenforceable if an employee discusses pay in order to find out if they are being paid less than colleagues for discriminatory reasons. But it’s clear that this isn’t stopping employers from telling people they can’t discuss their pay in the workplace.
In some countries, including Sweden, Finland and Norway, everyone’s income tax returns are published and workers can find out what their colleagues earn.

  • Unite the union is warning that passengers at Heathrow airport whose baggage is lost, could see their possessions disappear into the void, as specialist baggage handlers prepare to take strike action over pay.

The workers who are employed by Global Baggage Solutions Ltd are responsible for finding and repatriating lost baggage with distraught passengers.
The dispute is a result of the company refusing to make a pay offer for 2019 and only offering an increase of 32 pence an hour for 2020. The pay offer was unanimously rejected by Unite members but the company refused to negotiate.
Unite has called two four-day strikes. The first will last from Sunday 2 February to Wednesday 5 February; the second strike will be from 22 February to 25 February.
Unite is seeking an increase in pay to ensure all workers receive the London Living Wage of £10.75 an hour and senior handlers receive a higher payment.
Unite regional officer Clare Keogh said: ‘Heathrow passengers need to be aware that if their baggage is mislaid, it could disappear forever while our members are on strike.
‘Our members will no longer accept low pay and this dispute is completely a result of the refusal by Global Baggage Solutions to negotiate.
‘Our members are taking strike action as a last resort as life is becoming a daily struggle to survive on poverty pay rates.
‘There is still time for strike action to be avoided if Global Baggage Solutions is prepared to make a realistic pay offer and return to the negotiating table.’
Heathrow freight and luggage services could be hit as the Vanderlande cargo handlers’ dispute escalates

  • Cleaning staff at Birkbeck College in London have won their long-running struggle to have their jobs transferred back in-house.

Yesterday was their first day of direct employment since the service was outsourced in the late 1990s. The workers will benefit from improved conditions, plus access to the SAUL pension scheme.
Birkbeck Unison campaigns officer Edwin Clifford-Coupe said: ‘The cleaning staff and their Unison representatives have campaigned courageously for an end to the injustice of outsourcing.
‘This phase of the campaign began in early 2018, but it was a continuation of our successful campaigns for the London Living Wage in 2009 and equal holiday and sick pay in 2014.
‘Our members’ struggle has paid off. Congratulations to them – and thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign.’
The victory follows successful insourcing campaigns elsewhere in London, but the work at Birkbeck goes on, with the union campaigning for night security and catering staff to be brought back in house too, and at the University of London and UCL.

  • CWU members across Santander are being urged to accept a two-year pay deal which will deliver across-the-board rises in both years that match the current rate of RPI inflation for the vast majority of CWU-represented grades.

Crucially the deal maintains a pay progression scheme previously negotiated by the CWU that is unique in the banking industry. In a sector in which performance-related rises are the norm, the headline pay deal is not performance related – applying to everyone apart from IP (Individual Performance) performers, with them having the potential to benefit if their performance improves.
Strongly recommending the deal to members in an electronic ballot which opens this morning (Tuesday), assistant secretary Sally Bridge stressed that the union’s negotiating team unanimously believed that the company’s final offer – which emerged following talks just before Christmas – was the very best that could be achieved by negotiation.
‘This was a difficult and complicated set of talks covering all the members we represent in every part of the business,’ she explains. ‘Following a series of earlier company proposals that were rejected by the union during the many days we were locked in negotiations, the CWU’s Santander national team unanimously believes that the company’s final offer provides for meaningful and fair increases which provide individuals with a valuable level of certainty in potentially turbulent political and economic times.’
Details of the complex deal now before members are set out in Santander Members’ Bulletin No. 01/2020, which has been emailed to Santander members – but headline elements include:
A simplified two-box matrix for S1/G1 and S2/G2 grades, which provide an award of 3% for those on 80 to 89.99% of their pay range and 2.2% for those above 90% to the maximum
Non-consolidated awards of 2.2% for those above the maximum of their pay range, excluding protected grades who will receive consolidated awards
A fixed award of £825 for S3/G3 and equivalent management grades that is worth up to 1.85% and a small discretionary budged for S4/G4 and S5/G5 senior management grades whose salary is within the pay range.
The S3/G3 increases are consolidated for all those paid up to the maximum of their pay band, and non-consolidated for those whose pay rates sit above that level
Increases to the inner and outer London pay ranges will reflect the London premium.
For colleagues in Santander Technology in grades equivalent to S1 and S2 there are consolidated awards of 2.2%, a fixed award of £825 for S3 equivalents and a small discretionary budget for S4 and S5 equivalent grades.
In addition to the proposed pay settlement that is now before members, the CWU has secured a commitment from the Bank for a review of the reward structure in Santander Technology which will commence later this year.
Sally concludes: ‘The aim of the CWU national team for the very start of this year’s pay round has been to simplify the pay deal in addition to securing a decent increase in our members’ pay.
‘We firmly believe we have achieved both objectives – and strongly recommend members to vote “Yes” to accept the offer in the consultative ballot.’
Electronic ballot papers are in the process of being dispatched, and votes must be cast January 31. The result will be announced on February 3 – and provided the deal is accepted by members, the 2020 pay rise will come into effect on March 1.