Podcast: International Women’s Day special

Listen to some of EN4 News’ female staff members discuss the gender pay gap, stereotypes in sports, sexual harassment and so much more on International Women’s Day.

 

Thousands rally for pay equality

Glasgow is seeing its biggest equal pay strike in decades as 8,000 march on George Square.

Hundreds of schools, nurseries, and other local government organisations are striking due to a long-running dispute about equal pay for women.

GMB gen sec on far right

GMB General Secretary Tim Roache with striking workers at Glasgow City Chambers

Although Glasgow City Council has said the strike is unnecessary, GMB and Unison workers unions note a distinct lack of progress in negotiations over the pay issue.

The problem has arisen from a pay and conditions scheme introduced by Glasgow City Council in 2006. The scheme means that due to differing work conditions, workers in female-dominated industries like teaching, catering and cleaning are receiving up to £3 an hour less than workers in male-dominated industries like refuse collection.

Gary Smith, the Scottish secretary of GMB, spoke to us about the march in Glasgow:

“The Glasgow Women’s strike is the biggest ever strike over sex discrimination and equal pay. 8000 women have downed tools and brought large parts of the city to a halt. This is a magnificent display of solidarity amongst the women of Glasgow.”

Other industries which are unaffected by the pay dispute – or on the other side of it, such as refuse workers – have also been striking to support the female marchers in Glasgow.

GMB European Officer Kathleen Walker Shaw told EN4 News:

“The strike action and demonstration has met with widespread public support in Glasgow, Scotland, the UK and internationally with messages of solidarity pouring in from public service workers across the world.”

These messages included a speech from Rosa Pavanelli, the general Secretary of the 20-million-strong PSI Global union:

Councillors in Glasgow reiterate that there is no need for the strike. Council Leader Susan Aitken spoke to the BBC, stating:

“I’m not entirely sure why this strike is taking place. Negotiations have been continuing. We’ve made considerable progress in a number of areas.”

Over 12,000 claims have been made to the council to alert them of pay issues caused by the 2006 scheme. After pay increases and payouts for backdated claims, the issue could ultimately cost between £500 million and £1 billion.

Report reveals gender pay gap in City of Edinburgh Council

The City of Edinburgh Council will address a gender pay gap issue that has surfaced since a report revealed that male staff are paid more than women.

The pay gap ranges from 5% difference for staff and 20% difference for part-time employees within the City of Edinburgh Council, where roughly 70% of staff are women. Men are paid on average £13.47, while women earn on average £12.79 — a difference of 68p an hour.

Labour Councillor and member of the Finance and Resources Committee, Mandy Watt, said:

“Work that is done mainly by female employees is not properly valued by society. Women are expected to ‘break the glass ceiling’ if they want the gender pay gap to be closed. It would be fairer to simply pay more for the work that women do now. If the Council was not constrained by austerity, I would want this to be considered as a policy proposal.”

Edinburgh Councillors seem to agree that measures need to be put in place for the pay gap to end. 

Conservative Councillor Graham Hutchison said:

“As is the case in any organisation, the Council’s employees are our most valuable resource and are critical in terms of delivering frontline services to the citizens of Edinburgh.  It is worth noting that the gender pay gap in the Council is comparatively low but with women making up some 70% of our workforce it is an issue which must be promptly addressed.  A report on the Gender Pay Gap to the last meeting of the Finance and Resources Committee, on which I sit, was approved unanimously by all members showing the commitment of Councillors of all political stripes to eliminate the pay gap entirely.”

There is a difference between the gender pay gap and equal pay (which is to pay the same amount of money for the same work, without regard for gender). Equal pay has been achieved in the City of Edinburgh Council.

The city council will continue to investigate several other issues in the workplace, such as occupational segregation (when men and women tend to take on particular roles) and the male to female ratio in regards to senior positions.

Gender Pay gap

 

 

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