Discussing salaries is one of the biggest taboos in the workplace. Everyone is curious about how much their workmates earn but would never dare to ask. Even when they do exactly the same job, colleagues are more than likely to receive a different pay amount each month.
Inspired by a real pay experiment from the 1950s, in this remarkable TV experiment one of Britain's top bosses encourages a more honest and open working environment.
A routine team meeting takes everyone by surprise when Charlie Mullins, Managing Director of Pimlico Plumbers, asks his whole workforce to reveal exactly how much they are paid. One by one, they must reveal their salary and pin it on the notice board for their workmates to see.
Immediately this opens a Pandora's Box of emotional responses from anger and shock to guilt and resentment. The reveal exposes huge pay discrepancies between workers doing the same jobs.
The women in the call centre discover the newest addition to their team, Ben, earns £3000 more than them; staff member Mark is shocked to discover he's on £9000 less than his colleague.
Meanwhile, Tina in the canteen can't believe how much her managers earn when she can barely make ends meet on her £14,500 salary. The situation creates a terrible atmosphere and not even the boss can explain the pay distribution.
Once everyone's salaries are out in the open, Charlie challenges them to come up with a new pay scheme that's fairer for everyone. The underpaid workers want a raise but will need to persuade their higher paid colleagues to take a cut or come up with other imaginative ways to fund the rises.
In a bid to encourage the higher paid workers and bosses to give up some of their salary to their lower paid colleagues, workers from different departments are paired together to understand what each other's job entails.
The tradesmen who earn up to £150k get a taste of work in the call centre, but while they admit it's hard work, will it convince them to contribute to the pay gap?
PR Manager Karl insists he won't take a pay cut and instead asks for a £19k raise, but after doing a shift in the canteen and hearing how tough life is for Tina, will he change his mind?
Once negotiations and work swaps have taken place, the entire workforce must vote on whether to implement the proposed redistribution of salaries. Will the experiment result in a better and more productive working environment for Charlie and his staff?
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