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One in five workers are banned from discussing their pay, TUC poll finds

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Nearly a fifth (18%) of workers have been told they’re not allowed to discuss their pay with co-workers, according to new TUC/GQR polling published today (Wednesday).

The TUC is calling for a ban on pay secrecy or ‘gagging’ clauses, which prevent workers from challenging unfair pay, discrimination and excessive top-to-bottom pay ratios.

The research also found that:

  • Half (50%) of workers don’t know what senior managers in their organisations are paid.
  • More than half (53%) of workers are not given information about other people’s pay in their organisation.
  • Fewer than one in five (18%) report that their workplace has a transparent pay policy, where salary details are available to everyone through an official source.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Pay secrecy clauses are a get out of jail free card for bad bosses.

“They stop workers from challenging unfair pay, allow top executives to hoard profits and encourage discrimination against women and disabled people.

“Talking about pay can feel a bit uncomfortable, but more openness about wages is essential to building fairer workplaces.”

What needs to change?

The TUC is calling on government to:

  • Ban pay secrecy clauses outright so that everyone can talk about their pay and other work benefits to anyone and for any reason.
  • Deliver stronger union rights so that trade unions can ensure transparent and fair processes for setting pay rates.
  • Commit to introducing the cutting-edge pay transparency measures being considered at European level.

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