Unison attacks moves to keep women poor

Council
chiefs are condemning women to a low-pay future, Unison claims.

Local
authorities have recommended a move towards local pay bargaining, in their
submission to the local government pay commission. But Unison has criticised
the proposal as “dangerous and dated”, warning that it will see female council
workers face even lower pay.

The
union represents more than 860,000 local government workers, 75 per cent of
which are women and form the biggest group of low paid workers.

They
would be big losers out of any move to local bargaining, as recommended by the
employers, the union says.

Heather
Wakefield, Unison’s national secretary for local government said: “We fear that
employers wish to use local bargaining to ‘peg’ women’s jobs to market rates,
which they know can be lower than those in councils.

“We
have already seen evidence of this with homecare workers, who are facing
increased privatisation and erosion of their wages.

"We
have no confidence that the employers would approach local bargaining with the
needs of the majority of the workforce in mind, given the general lack of
awareness of equality and pay issues demonstrated by their track record and
approaches to job evaluation and pay."

By Quentin Reade

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