The BBC is reporting that, as well as unemployment reaching 1.92 million in November (which means it’s well over 2 million, now), the ‘downturn’* (its infantile name for the ‘recession’ – just like parents use the word ‘pee’) is ‘hitting women harder’, according to a report from the TUC, which found that:
the redundancy rate among women had risen by 2.3%, almost double the rate for men, since last year.
It said more women were in work and more households depended on a woman’s wage than in previous downturns.
It also found many job losses were occurring in retail and hospitality, where more women than men work.
The study, published ahead of Wednesday’s unemployment figures which are expected to show another big rise in the jobless total, also found women now earn more than men in a fifth of couples.
The Labour Government has been panicking, saving men’s jobs in automotive in its marginal seats, but is missing the wood for the trees. It’s ignoring women’s jobs which it just lets go without even a fear for the economic, social, or political consequences.
Remember, it was the ladies (e.g. Worcester women) who largely voted Blair in.
While in the latest Times/IPSOS-Mori opinion poll, 45% would vote Tory compared to 31% Labour, only 28% of women said they’d vote Labour, while 43% plumped for the Conservatives.
Men have now caught up with women in the big 5% swing from Labour to the Conservatives, but it is women who are ‘hardest hit’ – and, in households where the woman fears for her job and doesn’t expect any help from the Government – the man (and the kids) will suffer too. Men say: mess with our women and we won’t vote for you either.
* Which the BBC will upgrade to ‘recession’ this Friday when the growth figures are released.
Harriett Harman has failed. Although she is feted by various organisations, such as business support agency PROWESS, and even by key ‘experts’ on gender equality, she and her Government has failed. Harman’s attempt to legislate, via the Equalities Bill, has failed. Here’s what the Fawcett Society has to say:
Government efforts to narrow the pay gap between women and men are not working; bold new measures are urgently needed.
Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) today show that the mean hourly gender pay gap for full-time work has increased by 0.1% over the last 12 months from 17.1% to 17.2%.
This year, the Government has chosen to focus on the median pay gap figure – masking the real extent of the problem. Fawcett believes the mean pay figures better represent the true nature of the gender pay gap. Many women are clustered in the lowest paid professions and the median figures underplay this fact. Furthermore, international comparisons use mean earnings.
So if you’re a woman and you’re paid less than a man in the same job (maybe even in the same workplace), should you vote for Labour for more of the same? Do you trust Labour’s lies? I would hope not.
Low-paid council workers are right to strike for better wages in the current economic context. And yet there are many economic fallacies – in fact, outright lies – being bandied about by the treacherous, traitorous Labour Government. These are the very people who have suffered most as a result of 11 years of Brownian economic policy: and yet many of them will have rejoiced at Blair’s 1997 election victory and will have faithfully voted Labour in every subsequent election.
Why do I support a strike by UNISON members? Because improving the pay of the low paid in the economic climate caused by Brownian-Darlingian economic mismanagement, the ‘credit crisis’ and rising prices is morally right and socially just.
Let’s clarify two facts to begin with. First, 250,000 low-paid public sector workers on £6.50 an hour (of whom 75% are women, according to UNISON) have rejected a derisory 2.45% pay offer. So it’s not just about low-paid workers (on around £13k a year for a 40-hour week) who need improved pay in order to be able to pay the bills, school uniforms, mortgage or rent etc, but it’s about equal pay for women. These workers provide essential services such as:
social workers, housing benefit workers, rent collectors refuse workers, school meals staff, teaching assistants, cooks, cleaners, architects and surveyors.
These workers have been hammered by the 10p tax rate debacle and by other factors such as rising petrol and food prices. They’re now seeking a 6%, or 50p an hour, increase in their pay. Darling’s attitude is that, ‘we have introduced the minimum wage so there.’ However, it was never supposed to be a maximum wage.
Second, the economic fallacy that increasing the wages of low-paid public sector workers would be inflationary. This is an outright lie. This is a small part of the workforce which is in the public sector – therefore, their wage increases do not increase prices of private sector goods and services.
Yes, the money would have to come from somewhere – council tax or from Central Government – but it is simply not right to say that this scenario is similar to the 1970s winter of discontent. There is no hyperinflation like then and food price rises are largely due to external factors as well as the actions of City speculators and the biofuel industry, as last night’s Dispatches reported.
So there will be a strike and hopefully the Government and the councils’ employer association will see sense on this matter. And save these low-paid workers from financial ruin. But let’s not forget that the Government has got these workers into this mess with its policies.
UNISON should have broken its links with the Labour Party in the interests of its members – do low-paid union members really wish to see their money go into the coffers of the Government that has ruined them? And the union should not bankroll Labour at the next election – all they’ll get is slapped in the face.
Amazing as may sound to many trade unionists, the interests of UNISON members would be better served by a Government that implements radical low-tax policies for low-paid workers (as advocated by Conservative Home’s Tim Montgomerie). If public sector workers on £6.50 an hour could keep more of their own money, then there wouldn’t be any need for this strike.
- Alistair Darling
- animal welfare
- Bank of England buffoons
- Child A
- general election
- Gordon Brown
- gun crime
- intellectual idiocy
- Jacqui Smith
- Labour Party
- Northern Ireland
- older people
- opinion polls
- public sector
- Reg Empty
- Rhys Jones
- Royal Mail
- Shannon Matthews
- social breakdown
- social services