Pay Justice for Women Workers

Back in 1997 there were meetings between unions and local government representatives to discuss equal pay. The idea was to kickstart the process of ensuring everyone was paid an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work and the result was the single status agreement. But things didn’t go as quickly as planned. In 2003, six years after the initial meeting a revised deal was agreed with a deadline of 2007 to implement the agreement. Come 2007 only a third of councils had implemeted the equal pay agreements. Adding fuel to the fire there was an EU ruling in 2004 that the disparity could be back-dated up to 6 years allowing many people to claim this.

It’s now 2009 and in many councils the workers are still waiting to see the fruits of this agreement. But the councils would do well to view the recent tribunal outcome regarding Bury Metropolitan Borough Council.

BBC News

What the BBC don’t mention is that the council execs squandered over half a million quid trying to fight a legal requirement. And their response? Apologies for trying to defend immoral actions? Graciously accepting that they had been trying to keep the majority femaile workers on lower wages than they were legally entitled to? No, not a chance. Their attitude is that they expect the workers to pay. So says council chief Mark Sanders “Jobs will go – there’s no doubt about that,”.

Sound familiar? Those in authority cock things up, workers pay the price? Hmm, banking crisis anyone?

Anyways, congratulations to Unison for pushing this through. And shame on those councils and their leaders whose incompetence, stupidity, criminality, mysoginy and intransigence are creating a situation that is entirely their own creation. I hope the voters will be made aware come the local elections.


Women Have Never Had It So Good

Marks and SpencersImage by James F Clay via Flickr

Well, at least that’s the claim of ‘Sir’ Stuart Rose the chairman of Marks and Spencer. And he should know as I’m sure that M&S has more female employees than male. You should read the rest of the article on the BBC website, makes for interesting reading. As does the attitude that comes across as condescending and patronising.

It’s been 40 years since the Equal Pay Act was meant to close the gender pay gap and hopefully the opportunity gap. It’s been 21 years since Julie Hayward won her historic victory to cement the concept of equal pay for work of equal value.

So the difference in pay between genders, the glass ceiling and the opportunities available across the board have all been dealt with? No, not really. We still have a 23% difference in pay, we still have the glass ceiling although it’s probably shifted up a floor or two and I feel that opportunities are still limited.

Working as a man in industry I see an equality growing, or that’s been allowed to grow, and in my industry I discern what I hope would be a more level playing field.

What does need to change is the male dominated senior management. Not change exactly as there’s a few of them who will never change, but we still need to get more female representation into upper management and onto the board.

Another thing that still has to change is the testosterone fuelled atmosphere in the workplace. That’s best done by ensuring a good gender representation in employment, making sure that sexism is firmly kicked into boot and also legislating and educating women that they don’t have to become part of the ‘macho’ atmosphere that pervades much of the workplace in order to progress.

And Harriet Harman‘s latest legislation, the Equalities Bill regarding pay audits and more that’s getting the establishment squealing is most welcome although perhaps it’s being introduced too slowly.

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