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  • Graduates from wealthier backgrounds more than twice as likely to start on £30,000 as working-class peers 

  • Unions want new legal measures to tackle barriers holding back working-class people 

  • Britain is “wasting skills and talent”, says TUC 

The TUC has today (Monday) called for new legal measures to tackle class discrimination in the workplace. 

The call comes as a new TUC report reveals that graduates from wealthier backgrounds are more than twice as likely to be on a £30,000 starting salary than those from working-class backgrounds (see page 16). 

The TUC wants the government to: 

  • Make discrimination on the basis of class unlawful, just like race, gender and disability 

  • Introduce a legal duty on public bodies to make tackling all forms of class and income inequality a priority 

  • Make it compulsory for employers to report their class pay gaps 

The TUC says that without new anti-discrimination laws people from working-class backgrounds will continue to face unfair barriers at work and in society.  

These include direct forms of discrimination, such as employer bias during job applications and interviews. And there are indirect forms of discrimination, such as the use of unpaid internships as a gateway into jobs. 

As well as class discrimination, the report looks at other forms of disadvantage experienced by working-class people, such as low pay and the greater impact of austerity on working-class households. 

The TUC says that stronger workplace rights are needed to counter the class privilege that remains in Britain today. Every worker must have the freedom to meet with a union at their workplace. And there must be stronger rights for workers to speak up on pay and conditions through trade unions. 

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: 

“If you’re from a working-class family, the odds are still stacked against you.  

“Everyone knows that getting that dream job is too often a case of who you know, not what you know. 

“I want to issue a challenge to politicians. It’s high time we banned discrimination against working class people. 

“This country is wasting some of our best skills and the talent. And if we don’t get change fast, it’s not just workers who will lose out – Britain will. 

“Let’s have a new duty on employers to stamp out class prejudice once and for all.” 

Editors note

- TUC report: The full report Building working class power: how to address class inequality today can be found here:  

- Congress 2019: Congress is being held in the Brighton Centre from Sunday 8 September to Wednesday 11 September. Media passes can still be obtained by visiting, completing an online form and paying a late registration fee of £75 +VAT. Accreditation can then be collected on arrival at the Brighton centre.  

- About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living. 


Tim Nichols  
020 7467 1388 
07808 761844 

Alex Rossiter 
020 7467 1285 
07887 572130 

TUC press office  
020 7467 1248 

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