Today and tomorrow (23-24 October) in Glasgow thousands of women municipal workers are taking part in a strike in support of equal pay.
The decision to take strike action comes after a 12-year battle to change the city’s discriminatory pay system that undervalues women’s work.
A new pay and grading scheme introduced in 2006 was supposed to end to pay inequality based on gender. Instead, it’s implementation introduced new discriminatory measures. Women in traditionally female jobs – such as caterers, cleaners and care assistants – still found they were being paid less than men in traditional men’s jobs, even though the jobs were of equal value and should have been paid the same.
Around 8,000 women including school administration workers, learning support workers in schools, nursery workers, home carers, cleaners, caterers and other council workers are joining the strike, believed to be the largest industrial action of its kind for over 40 years.
The strike is a timely reminder that much more needs to be done to tackle the undervaluing of women’s work. EPSU’s recent report entitled “She works hard for the money – Tackling low pay in sectors dominated by women” investigates the extent of and driving factors behind low pay in health and social care sectors in the EU and trade union responses. The report also makes the link with the need to secure public investment through fair and progressive taxation in order to ensure quality public services and decent work for public sector workers can be a reality.
In the UK wages of local government workers have been particularly hard hit because of austerity and public spending cuts.
EPSU supports wholeheartedly the actions to stand up for women and to demand quality jobs for all workers delivering much-needed municipal services!
See also ‘Women’s Rights are Worker’s Rights!’ Prague Statement, 2018