Lib Dem MEP rebels against equal pay

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Scottish Green Party co-convenor and Euro candidate Maggie Chapman has criticised George Lyon MEP for his rebel vote opposing equal pay for men and women.

Lyon was the only Liberal Democrat to oppose the resolution, “on the application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value”. Only two other members of the Lib Dem’s European Parliament group joined him.

The Conservatives, including Scotland’s Struan Stevenson, also opposed the resolution. The Greens-EFA and Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats were the only groups to unanimously support equal pay.

Maggie Chapman said:

“Women working full-time in Scotland earn £108.30 per week less than men. Twice as many women as men suffer poverty wages of less than £7 an hour. George Lyon is apparently fine with that. I’m not.

“Unlike George Lyon, Greens support urgent action on equal pay. If I take his seat in May, I’ll fight to increase the Minimum Wage to at least a Living Wage. I’ll back legal changes to make it easier for women to bring pay discrimination cases to court. And I’ll work for a European Minimum Wage to stop big business playing countries off against each other to the cost of low-paid workers.”

Maggie Chapman has been an Edinburgh city councillor since 2007, and was the first politician in Scotland to back the Living Wage. In 2011, she negotiated a joint opposition budget amendment, with the Labour and even Conservative councillors backing her proposal to pay a Living Wage to all council employees. The amendment was rejected by the then Lib Dem-SNP administration.

With the Liberal Democrat vote collapsing in Scotland, the last of the country’s six Euro seats looks set to be contested between Chapman and UKIP’s London chairman, David Coburn.