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News: Equal pay TV experiment branded "risky" by legal expert

12th Jul 2012
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A Channel 4 television programme that challenged the employees of a plumbing company to share how much they earn with each other has been slammed by a legal expert.

During the show entitled 'Show Me Your Money' which was screened on Wednesday, staff at Pimlico Plumbers swapped salary information in an attempt to create a more equal pay culture. But employment lawyer, Ronnie Fox, principal of law firm Fox, warned that the move was not only a bad one, it was also potentially damaging for the business. "This was a very risky thing to do and I doubt whether many companies will do the same," he said. "I am sure that a number of employees were unhappy about having to reveal their remuneration to others. And even more would have been unhappy when they found out what colleagues were earning." When two employees doing similar jobs found out that one earned more than the other – for whatever reason – the employee earning less was bound to get upset. "I simply don’t believe that sharing information of this kind will lead to a happier working environment," Fox said. "A good test will be to measure the rate of staff turnover. I suspect it will increase at Pimlico Plumbers as a result of this experiment." But Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers, defended his decision to take part in the TV programme. Writing on his blog, he said: "There were a lot of shocks, a few years and a touch of resentfulness, but the end result is that a majority of staff are better off. I would recommend this scheme to other companies. A much more transparent pay structure in business and government would do us all the world of good."

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