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Suffolk County Council men earn 15pc more than women, says new report

PUBLISHED: 11:26 16 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:35 16 March 2018

Councillor Jane Storey, deputy leader of Suffolk County Council. Picture: Gregg Brown.

Councillor Jane Storey, deputy leader of Suffolk County Council. Picture: Gregg Brown.

The difference in wages between men and women at Suffolk County Council is nearly 15pc according to new figures to be debated by the authority next week.

Labour group leader Sarah Adams. Picture: Gregg Brown.Labour group leader Sarah Adams. Picture: Gregg Brown.

But while men on average earn more than women at the authority, they are heavily outnumbered. Women make up 71pc of the county council’s payroll.

Significantly, they make up a majority of every level of staff at the county – from the least-paid 25pc to the highest-paid 25pc. The authority’s acting chief executive is Sue Cook and her predecessor was Deborah Cadman.

A spokesman for the county said one of the main reasons for the gender pay gap was because a significant proportion of the women on the payroll who were part-time and were keen to fit their work around family commitments.

Endeavour House, Suffolk County Council HQ, in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNEndeavour House, Suffolk County Council HQ, in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

He pointed out that Suffolk’s gender pay gap was in line with the national average for local authorities and the public sector generally.

The details of the difference in pay is due to be reported at next week’s meeting of the council – all public sector bodies with more than 250 employees have to publish details of their gender pay gap.

Suffolk’s mean average pay gap is 14.8pc (national average 17.4pc). The bottom-paid quarter of the workforce is 16pc men and 84pc women while in the highest-earning quarter the proportion is 38pc men and 62pc women.

Deputy council leader Jane Storey is responsible for equality issues at the authority. She was happy that the council provided so many job opportunities that appealed to women.

She said: “I think it is fair to say that a lot of the jobs at the county council, like office work and some of the caring work that we do, appeal to women.

“And we are able to offer very flexible work – allowing people to work part-time and fit their work in with their family commitments – and again that is attractive to many women workers. I am proud of the fact that we have more women working at all levels of the authority.”

Labour group leader Sarah Adams said: “Whatever you say, 15pc is a fair old gap and needs to be addressed.

“Given the fact that many of the people at the bottom of the wage structure are women, I think it is even more important that we sign up to the Living Wage – that would certainly ease the pay gap.”

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