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London's Mayor Pledges to Take Action on Ethnicity Pay Gap

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has vowed to tackle the “deeply entrenched” ethnicity pay gap in the city — after a report showed staff from black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds earn up to 37% less than white workers. 

The landmark report is the first time that City Hall has ever explored the differences in salaries between white and BAME staff. 

It assessed all organisations in the Greater London authority group — including City Hall, Transport for London (TfL), the police and fire services, and two development corporations — and the salaries of 76,000 people in the capital.

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The pay gap ranged from no gap at all in the London fire brigade, to 37.5% at the Old Oak and Park Royal development corporation, which is running a development project in the north-west of the city, reported the Guardian

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At TfL, the gap is 9.8%, and 16.7% at the Metropolitan police. At City Hall, the gap is 16%, even though the mayor and three of his deputies — for social integration, business, and the environment — are all BAME. 

The report found that the pay gap is caused by an under-representation of people from BAME backgrounds in senior jobs, rather than from employees being paid less than their white colleagues for the same job.

Read more: This Is How Much Less a Black Person Will Earn in the UK Than a White Colleague

“I am deeply troubled that members of the black, Asian, and minority ethnic community who work at these organisations earn on average less than their white counterparts, and I am determined to confront this inequality,” said Khan.

“This sort of injustice takes many years to develop and it becomes deeply entrenched,” he said. “My administration is finally beginning the process of turning this around.” 

Matthew Ryder, deputy major for social integration and mobility, said: “It is wholly unacceptable in 2018 that those from BAME communities are likely to earn less, progress less, and enjoy a poorer quality of life than their white counterparts.”

“It’s vital that we take action now,” he added. 

Read more: Ethnic Minorities Will Be 'Next Generation' of Criminals if Britain's Justice System Doesn't Change, Claims Major Report

City Hall has already taken steps including removing applicants’ names from their applications, and introducing unconscious bias training for staff including the mayor.

But Khan also called on all London’s public bodies and businesses to join him “in doing what they can to right this injustice,” and urged the government to consider making ethnicity pay audits a legal requirement, as they are with gender pay gaps. 

The Met police highlighted that the report made it clear “individuals of different ethnic backgrounds who undertake the same role, have the same length of service, and work the same hours, receive the same pay.” 

But it added that the ethnicity pay gap emerges due to a number of factors, including: less length of service for BAME officers and staff; fewer BAME officers and staff in higher-paid roles; and historical allowances such as rent and housing allowance that some staff with longer service still receive, that newer staff don’t.

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“It will take time before we see the pay gap start to significantly close but we are committed to taking action,” it added

Nationwide, a report released in August by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) also revealed a gap between BAME workers and their white colleagues. 

For those without qualifications, the gap is around 5%, according to the report. For those with A-levels, it’s around 10%, and for graduates the pay gap is around 14%. 

A separate study also released in August, by the Resolution Foundation thinktank, found ethnic minority families earned as much as £8,900 less a year than their white British counterparts. 

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