Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 March 2006

Women's TUC:

Still fighting for equal pay

THE OVERWHELMING feeling coming out of the TUC Women's Conference was that women trade unionists are fed up with the lack of progress being made on women's rights and equality.

Katrine Williams, PCS

This was summed up by the reaction to the government's Women and Work Commission. The government showed where its priorities lie by allowing the CBI bosses' union to veto all the demands where employers would have to tackle inequality and equal pay in the workplace.

It is 30 years since the Equal Pay act yet median earnings show a 13% gender pay gap. This is nearly twice as bad in the civil service with a disgraceful 25% pay gap between men and women.

The government should lead the way to tackle pay inequalities. Civil service union PCS is running a high profile campaign on equal pay, putting pressure on MPs. We will use all channels, including the legal avenues, which resulted in winning equal pay for women workers in the Prison Service.

Childcare, domestic violence, abortion and pregnancy discrimination are issues frequently discussed by women trade unionists. It is not just employers that are the problem.

Jane Aitchison from PCS spoke on the necessity for the TUC to ensure that it provides childcare consistently and of a high quality at all its tiers. This would allow women (and men) with children to fully participate in the movement. This follows problems with the creche last year that the PCS delegation highlighted.

The New Labour speakers to the conference, including the minister for Women Tessa Jowell, made grandiose statements about tackling the problems. They can talk about women's rights but are fully part of the government, which is working to dismantle the welfare state. They have no idea about the problems women workers face.

PCS held a fringe meeting jointly with the National Pensioners Convention. PCS President Janice Godrich called on other trade unionists to actively support the demand for a pensions demonstration carried at last year's congress.

The only motion that caused any controversy was one on the democratic accountability of the TUC general council and its equality seats, which are not elected at the equality conferences but at the main congress.

The women's committee opposed this on the spurious argument that a review was taking place so the women's conference should not take a view. The motion was carried with no speakers from those opposing the motion and a number of unions abstaining.

Zita Holbourne from PCS made a strong argument in favour of democratising the TUC equality structures and making them accountable to the equality conferences. Also, crucially, that the TUC must look at equality in running its own organisation, especially as they are supposed to be campaigning for employers to do this.

The opposition to this motion seems to sum up the TUC leadership's attitude to the equality agenda. They are happy to allow the women's conference to vent off steam from increasingly frustrated and angry women trade unionists but do not want to allow us to elect the women who represent us on the TUC general council.

We need to campaign and build on the involvement of women workers and other equality groups in our unions and make sure that the TUC cannot ignore our voice by only paying lip service to our demands. There is too much for women to fight for, for us to allow the right-wing leaders of the trade union movement to hold us back.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 16 March 2006:

Iraq: for the immediate withdrawal of all troops

Will the US bomb Iran?

Is there a way out of the Iraq quagmire?

Mass protests sweep France

The case for a new workers' party

Campaign for a New Workers' Party - come to conference!

Socialist Party discusses with Respect

'We reject New Labour's policies and philosophy'

Sticking to socialist principles, looking after the community

Success in Kendal

Jean Charles de Menezes: No more cover-ups!

Action to defend our pensions!

Still fighting for equal pay

PCS overtime ban - the issues

Parents back striking teachers

NUT executive - vote for Linda Taaffe


Home   |   The Socialist 16 March 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Equal pay:

triangleCapitalism oppresses women - fight for socialism!

triangleWomen rally defiantly

triangleArriva bus strike still solid

triangleUS: women ice hockey players' strike threat wins living wage

triangleWomen need secure jobs and equal pay, not patronising 'returnships'


triangleNHS pay: Reject the Tories' divide and rule offer

triangleZero new homes 'affordable' in Blairite Manchester

triangleSainsbury's raise really a cut: fight for 10 with no strings!

triangleProfits up Wages down


triangleDerby public meeting: Women's Lives Matter

triangleContinuing the fighting tradition of working class women

triangleInternational Women's Day


triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: We're all under attack - TUC call a general strike

triangleNHS: use the 3 February protests as a launch pad for a mass movement


trianglePCS: Re-elect the left and fight for decent pay

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Homes for All - Not billionaire profit!



School strikes against academy management



Hands Off HRI campaign granted judicial review



Refugee Rights to be launched in Manchester



Over 1,000 on Newcastle NHS march


Socialist Party

Why I joined: 'The Socialist Party is at the forefront of defending Corbyn's anti-austerity leadership'


Socialist Party

Past fund-raising campaigns show dedication to the fight for socialism


May Day

Ideas matter: help us fight to win with May Day greetings



Refugees march against racism and to demand rights



Unions condemn 'culture of bullying' at Merseyside hospital



Hull college workers ballot for action against mass redundancies



Strikers and parents rally again in Newham against academies



Hinkley workers win back unpaid wages after sit-in protest



UCU strike: staff and students unite to continue pensions fight after magnificent 14 days of action



Walkout from undercover policing inquiry

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018