Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Fight For Equal Pay



I came across this Labour Party video recently and my immediate reaction was that while it pays tribute to events surrounding 'Made in Dagenham', the behaviour of big Labour councils such as Glasgow, North Lanarkshire or South Lanarkshire have been completely ignored.

Fine words butter no parsnips, as the saying goes, and I think it's fair to say that the worst offenders when it comes to pay discrimination against low paid women workers have been the big Labour controlled councils in Scotland.

If you ask me, they deserve their comeuppance at the local council elections on 4th May 2017. 

  



Made in Dagenham (16 November 2011)


In case you missed it at the cinema - Made in Dagenham - a film about the fight for equal pay in 1968 is now showing on the Sky movie channel.

Here's what I wrote about Made in Dagenham when it was released last year - but it is truly incredible that the same fight is having to be fought out all over again - 40 years on.

And do you know what - the issues are exactly the same - employers and trade unions bending over backwards to deny women workers equal pay.

How is it possible - in Edinburgh for example - for the council to argue that a social care worker, or a catering manager or a classroom assistant - was not entitled to the same rate of pay as a refuse worker.

If anything, these female dominated jobs should all have been paid more - but the council and the trade unions - turned a blind eye to what was going on for years.

The employers and the trade unions - should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Made in Dagenham (September 17th 2011)


A new film is to be released next month which tells the story of the struggle for equal pay in 1968 - by a group of women at the Ford car plant in Dagenham.

An inspiring story - by all accounts - it tells the tale of 187 women machine workers who walked out of the Dagenham car plant in 1968 - when their work was downgraded as 'unskilled' - and their demand for the same pay grading as the men in the factory was refused.

Directed by Nigel Cole of Calendar Girls, the film has a great British cast - including Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Rosamund Pike, Rupert Graves, Geraldine James, Miranda Richardson and John Sessions.

The idea for the film came about when the women behind the original protest - appeared on Radio 4's The Reunion programme.

Made in Dagenham stars the award winning Sally Hawkins as Rita O'Grady - who is the catalyst for the 1968 strike - which took place only two years before Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970.

Working in poor conditions and for long hours, the women at the Ford Dagenham plant finally laid down their tools - in protest at their second class treatment compared to their male colleagues.

With humour, common sense and courage they take on their corporate paymasters, an increasingly belligerent local community, and finally the government of the day.

The leader of the women's struggle is fast-talking, no nonsense Rita whose fiery temper and occasionally hilarious unpredictability - proves to be a match for any of her male opponents.

I imagine the film will be a hit with everyone who has been involved in the struggle for equal pay some 40 years on - with Action 4 Equality Scotland.

The same battle that was waged in 1968 has essentially had to be fought all over again - only this time on behalf of low paid council workers in Scotland.

The trade unions never led this fight because they were part of the problem - doing deals that favoured traditional male jobs - and shamelessly betraying the interests of their women members.