Unions have called for government action to address the “absolutely criminal” pay gap between disabled and non-disabled employees.
New TUC figures were released this week ahead of the first in-person TUC Disabled Workers Conference since the start of the pandemic.
Dave Allan, co-chair of the TUC disabled workers’ committee, told the conference in Bournemouth that the figures showed a 17.2 per cent gap between how much disabled and non-disabled people earn in a year – which was £3,700 less a year, or £2.05 less an hour – which he said was “absolutely criminal”.
Disabled women earn more than £7,000 a year less than non-disabled men.
Allan said: “It is time for employers to be forced to do better. They must face a legal duty to publish their disability pay gap.
“They must face fines for failure to implement reasonable adjustments.
“This Tory government has failed us time and time again. They have shown us that they have no respect for the lives of disabled people.
“We have more to do than ever to fight for justice for disabled people.”
About seven in 10 (69 per cent) disabled employees earn less than £15 an hour, according to the figures.
The TUC analysis finds that disabled people are much more likely than non-disabled peers to be paid less than £15 per hour, with half of non-disabled employees (50 per cent) earning less than £15 per hour, compared to seven in 10 (69 per cent) disabled employees.
In some parts of the country, the figures are even worse.
In the north-east (92 per cent) and Wales (94 per cent), more than nine in 10 disabled employees earn less than £15 an hour, compared to around two in five non-disabled workers (37 per cent in the north-east and 42 per cent in Wales).
The TUC has called on ministers to introduce a legal requirement for employers to report regularly on their disability pay gaps, and fines for employers that fail to deliver disabled workers’ legal right to reasonable adjustments.
Paul Nowak, the TUC’s general secretary, told the conference yesterday (Wednesday): “As trade unionists, we are clear that fighting for disability equality cannot be left to disabled workers alone.
“It’s the responsibility of all of us in the trade union movement.”
He said earlier in the week: “Disabled workers are struggling to make ends meet in this cost-of-living crisis, with rocketing bills and soaring inflation.
“Every worker deserves a decent job on decent pay. Being disabled should not mean you’re paid any less or are stuck on worse terms and conditions.
“The government has done very little so far to support disabled workers.
“It’s time for ministers to increase the minimum wage to £15 per hour as soon as possible and put an end to insecure work by banning zero hours contracts.
“And they must also introduce mandatory disability pay gap reporting to shine a light on inequality at work.
“Without this, millions of disabled people face a future of lower pay and in-work poverty.”
Picture: Dave Allan (second from left) on a panel later in the conference
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