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equal / graduate pay in the UK question

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AngryWorkersWorld
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Joined: 30-04-13
Mar 19 2016 19:32
equal / graduate pay in the UK question

hey folks,

a very basic question regarding the legal situation of pay equality...

one of us currently workers in a manufacturing company in london, no union present. the company engages in development and assembly of computer hardware. they hired two young blokes who had just graduated as mechanical engineers. they hired them as assembly operatives, although they also engage in engineering work, e.g. writing documentations and manuals for assembly work, designing parts with CAD programs, work on research and development projects etc. they pay them 13,000 p.a.
our comrade was also hired as an assembly operative for cabling, soldering and metal assembly/re-work, but receives 15,500 p.a. it is clear that the graduates accept the lower pay because they want something on their CVs, but do they have a legal clout to claim at least equal, if not higher pay due to engaging in higher skilled work and having graduated? this is just to get the basic legal situation straight, enforcement is a completely different cattle of fish. thanks. (please respond in the forum or via email, we don't read the libcom messages frequently)

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Reddebrek
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Joined: 4-01-12
Mar 19 2016 21:01

I don't think so, the only laws that define pay I know off are linked to age and the equal pay act for female and male workers. But you should probably contact ACAS https://www.gov.uk/pay-and-work-rights or the TUC for legalistic queries, their input on these questions are as authoritative as you can get.

Fleur
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Joined: 21-02-12
Mar 19 2016 21:33

My partner's been there & done that, having apprenticed as an engineering technician then went to college to study Mech Eng and on graduating was earning less than he did as a skilled fitter. Thing is newly graduated engineers don't earn much and are generally regarded as knowing jack shit about what they are doing, which is pretty true and it pays to be nice to the fitters who may take you under their wing & show you how all that theoretical stuff plays out in the real world. tbh, a lot of the work of newly graduated engineers is to make the tea, make yourself vaguely useful, pay attention and hopefully they might learn something. Writing technical reports, R&D will push them up the food chain eventually but right now they're pretty low in the pecking order. It's a shit situation, especially if you have four years of student debt to deal with, and is one of the reasons why most graduate engineers end up going into work which isn't engineering.

AngryWorkersWorld
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Joined: 30-04-13
Mar 23 2016 18:07

thanks for the comments and advice. it will be interesting to see whether the company will increase the young engineers' wages with the minimum wage increase next month. we slowly get to know each other better, maybe in the near future we can ask for a raise together. will keep you updated...

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Steven.
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Joined: 27-06-06
Mar 23 2016 19:09

Hi, yes as other people have said there is no right to equal pay for equal work. However if one person is from a different protected group as defined by the equality act (different gender, ethnicity, disability etc), then there could potentially be a claim of discrimination (especially if you can find the same pattern elsewhere in the organisation). Like you say, the best thing to do would be eventually for both to request a raise together to the same amount.