Generating Equality? Equal Pay, Decentralization and the Electricity Supply Industry

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Abstract

Despite the existence of effective equal pay legislation in the UK since 1975 aimed at eradicating pay discrimination, women are still in receipt of only 79.5 per cent of the hourly earnings received by men (EOR 1994b). Whitehouse (1992) claims that a centralized collective bargaining model is more likely to lead to equality for women in the labour market than a liberalized individualistic model. The model was tested at an aggregated level for 13 OECD countries. This article provides a case study which charts a trade union claim for equal pay over a period often years (1984–94), which may be seen as an examination of the Whitehouse proposition at a disaggregated level. The paper highlights the barriers to equality bargaining and analyses the case study to identify the criteria necessary for achieving equality.

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