Friday, 30 October 2015
Second Class Women?
I've often wondered why Old Labour types attach so much more importance to 'going the extra mile' for traditional male jobs when the problems facing women at work are every bit as harsh and difficult to overcome.
Take this article by Kevin McKenna in The Observer, for example, in which he argues that 270 potential job losses in the Scottish steel industry (concentrated in Lanarkshire) should be put on a par with previous national disasters caused by foot and mouth disease and by the great British banking collapse which nearly crashed the UK economy.
Now I have every sympathy for the predicament of the steelworkers and their industry which is trying to cope with stiff competition from around the world and a dramatic fall in the price of steel; conditions not unlike those facing Scotland's oil industry.
But just the other day North Lanarkshire received news of even more potential jobs losses - 1,100 jobs done predominantly by low paid women council workers who face the chop because the Council's bosses have mismanaged its affairs for years, the long fight for equal pay and a controversial bonus scheme for chief officials being just two obvious examples.
Yet I've not noticed any angry comment columns form Kevin McKenna, calling for heads to roll and the Council's Labour leadership to resign.
Which is odd because North Lanarkshire's budget almost doubled in the 10 year period between 1997 and 2007, so where has all the money gone and how has the Council dug itself into a big financial hole that now requires £45 million worth of budget savings to just balance the spending books?
I read another comment piece by Kevin recently in which he bemoaned the existence of laws on taking strike action which go back to the early 1980s and, according to Kevin, are preventing the trade unions from defending their members.
Yet I can't remember a single strike over equal pay in the past 10 years, in Lanarkshire or anywhere else for that matter, despite the fact that tens of thousands of low paid women council workers were being 'cheated' out of thousands of pounds every year.
Now this kind of behaviour rates highly on my own personal 'scandalometer', but it seems to have passed Kevin by even though he has plenty to say about the challenges facing the UK's manufacturing industry which I wrote about years ago in a comment piece for the New Statesman titled 'Govan No More'.
I'll re-post Govan No More on the blog site, but in the meantime have a read at what Kevin has to say about the steelworkers and contrast that with his 'Trappist monk-like' stance on the problems facing low paid women workers in Scottish councils, many of them run by Old Labour types who can't see the wood for the trees.
One law for steelworkers. Another for farmers
By Kevin McKenna
The government needs to be as generous with the steel industry as it was with banks and farmers