Wednesday, 23 March 1994
Dáil Éireann Debate
34. Mr. O'Malley asked the Minister for Equality and Law Reform in the light of the recent ESRI analysis of male/female wage differentials, the plans, if any, he has to ensure that employers and unions carry out job evaluations to ensure that pay structures take the principle of equal treatment into account.
Minister for Equality and Law Reform (Mr. Taylor): Job evaluation and pay structures are primarily a matter for employers and employees including the trade unions representing them. The carrying out of a job evaluation exercise is certainly a matter in the first place for an employer and the workers concerned. In many cases I understand that job evaluation is a different and an unsuitable pay determining measure.
While I am still examining the ESRI analysis of male/female wage differentials I am aware that the potential exists in collective bargaining on pay and conditions to reach agreements which may directly or indirectly discriminate against specific categories of workers including women.
At present women who consider that they are the subject of such discrimination can pursue a case under the Anti-Discrimination (Pay) Act, 1974 or the Employment Equality Act, 1977. Such a case will go before an Equality Officer of the Labour Relations Commission who in investigating the matter take into account the need for job comparison techniques to reflect equality principles.
In my review of employment equality legislation I am examining possible measures to strengthen the role of Equality Officers on this issue. I consider that the principles of equal treatment as regards pay can be appropriately safe-guarded through equal pay legislation coupled with proactive employer and trade union politicies in this area.
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