The Patch

February 6, 2007

Even A Broken Tory…

Filed under: Politics — freshlysqueezedcynic @ 12:48 am

…is right once every 177 years or so.

I knew that the “pretend to be vaguely socially responsible like what New Labour does” was gaining popularity amongst the Conservative elite, following it right down to the “make pointless but flashy gestures and soundbites whilst actually saying fuck all” tactic that served dear Mr Blair so well (I know, I know, this far away from an election it is unfair to attack someone for not fleshing out policies, etc, etc, but just remember we all said that about Labour in 94, whose 1997 manifesto was so light and airy it just floated away, mostly into the rubbish bin of whoever read it), and then they go and spoil over a century of tradition by actually putting out a minor idea that is smart, socially aware, and mildly progressive. I know, I’m shocked and all.

I am talking about the intimation by senior Tories that a Conservative Government might ban employers from putting clauses in contracts which forbid people from talking about their salaries and conditions with fellow employees. This would be to help address the pay gap that still exists between males and females in the workplace, which is partially because of the number of women who take low-paying part time jobs, but can’t all be explained by that particular quirk of the labour market.

Whilst part of me wants to snark at the fact that the Tories are considering state intervention for social purposes, (“Don’t they know that the market will sort itself out without this unecessary burden of red tape?” screams the inner Daily Mail in all of us) however minor the actual intervention might be, the unfortunately reasonable side of me has to admit it’s a fairly good idea. Why shouldn’t people talk about their wages or find out what they’re earning relative to other people, especially if they discover some structural inequality in the pay scale between people doing similar jobs, with no reasonable explanation? If a company is worried because there might be reason to be angry about its’ pay structure, then that is a problem of the company, and not the regulatory regime. We don’t tolerate governments forcibly silencing us on any issue we wiish to speak about, so why should we allow businesses be any different? It’s a step in the right direction to addressing the pay gap, if a small and overly symbolic one.

Still wouldn’t vote for the fuckers, though.



  1. hehe nice one. it made me think though (on a mostly unrelated subject), why dont men take “low paying part-time jobs”? I can think of 7 women off the top of my head who have them, in addition to what they work 40 hours a week, and not one man. Hmmm…

    Comment by Amie — February 6, 2007 @ 11:09 pm | Reply

  2. Jeez, so they work 55-60 hours a week in total? That’s pretty brutal. A lot of the time it’s partially to do with the case that there’s still the perceived gender role of the woman looking after the child. Also, it seems that a lot of the jobs that are traditionally done by women get somewhat undervalued in the work that they do.

    Comment by freshlysqueezedcynic — February 7, 2007 @ 4:29 pm | Reply

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