I am astonished. News from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that equal pay is too much to hope for in the midst of a recession is one of the most depressing comments that I've heard for a long time.
There is no doubt that the legal process that claimants have to get through in order to assert their legitimate right to equal treatrment before the law is labyrinthine. However, to soft pedal the requirement for companies to hold equal pay reviews is an admission akin to saying that the 17% pay gap between men and women is a low priority.
Worse yet, an entirely new equal pay act is apparently needed, and will take years of work to construct. Now, either there is an assumption that the Conservatives will be equally convinced of the need for expeditious progress towards equality in the workplace (don't all laugh at once) or that Labour will be re-elected with a majority sufficient to push it through (didn't think that you'd stop laughing...). Either way, why should it take that long?
What next, not enforcing the National Minimum Wage because it puts jobs at risk? Actually, given the visibility of the teams who enforce it (have you heard of many prosecutions lately?), perhaps that's already happening.
The EHRC is supposed to be the body which campaigns for equality, yet it appears willing to sacrifice the disadvantaged in order to fulfil the new Peter Mandelson inspired New Labour agenda. They need to take a stand, and be more assertive in campaigning for equal rights. We need to be standing with them to provide some moral support.