Equal Pay

This Vegetarian Food Brand Is One of Only 48 UK Companies with Pay Parity

Following legislation that forced UK companies with more than 250 employees to declare their gender pay gap, Suma emerged as one of only a handful to have achieved pay parity.

by Ruby Lott-Lavigna
06 April 2018, 4:09pm

Photo courtesy Suma. 

If the years of oppression and structural inequality weren’t enough of a hint, we now have solid evidence that women across the UK are paid less than men on average in most companies. After new UK legislation required all companies with over 250 employees to declare their gender pay gap, more than 10,000 companies shared their data by midnight on Wednesday this week.

The results are [sighs into the abyss] depressing. According to the BBC, more than three quarters of UK companies pay men more than women (on average), coming to a terrible 78 percent. While it is illegal to pay people performing the same role differently because of their gender, most companies have majority men in high paid roles, and mostly women in the lowest paid ones. Unless, of course, you’re media company. Conde Nast has a female majority in its highest paid roles and *still* manages to pay men more, on average.

However, this isn’t the case of Suma foods, a vegan and vegetarian food company based in West Yorkshire that has zero gender pay gap. Of the 10,000 companies that shared their data this week, Suma is one of only 48 to report this pay parity.

The company, which functions as a co-op, pays its male and female employees an average hourly wage of £15.60, resulting in a gender pay gap of 0 percent. Although there are more men in both the highest paid and lowest paid quartiles of the company, there is no overall difference between their pay and that of female employees. However, there is a slight difference when it comes to bonus pay at Suma. In the 12 months preceding the data collection in April last year, 76.5 percent of men received bonuses, compared to 75 percent of women. This means that Suma’s male employees earn 6.22 percent more than their female counterparts in bonuses.

Other companies that reported zero gender pay gap were Age UK Tyneside (a branch of the Age UK charity) and Dana UK Axle, a manufacturer of car parts. However, some have disputed this data, arguing that the statistics are "highly improbable."

A spokesperson for Suma told MUNCHIES that equality has “always been a key foundation of who we are and what we do.”

They continued, “It's always been about levelling the playing field. People perform better the more equality and more fairness there is in a workplace. It's about being honest about where your value actually lies, and valuing different people throughout the business.”

Also, Suma is just really cute? On its website, it states that it is an entirely vegetarian company, adding that it “has been and always will be.” Because the company is a workers cooperative, it is “owned and managed” by the workforce, and is the UK’s largest single pay employee.

Keep up the good work, adorable vegetarians. (And women: we revolt at midnight).

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