From the TUC

EQUAL PAY DAY – Time to Demand What We are Owed!

07 Nov 2013, By

In 1970, Parliament passed The Equal Pay Act following the strike by women workers at Fords Dagenham. The act prohibited employers from paying or treating women workers less favourably than their male counterparts.

In 2013, UK women are still paid less than men – so much so that on Thursday 7th November they will effectively start working for free. The Fawcett Society has dubbed this day ‘Equal Pay Day’.

The average woman working full-time in the UK will be paid 15% less per hour than a man. If she is working part-time, she will be getting paid a whopping 35.6% less an hour. That means she started working for free on 27th August. Older women workers also fare badly.

Teaching has a predominantly female workforce and, compared to other industries where women workers are in the majority, women have achieved better pay parity. Women working in the public sector also have better pay parity than those working in the private sector, largely because of national pay structures and strong union representation.

The current government’s proposals to introduce Performance Related Pay and allow schools to set their own pay policies is likely to see an increase in pay inequality as schools set ever increasing thresholds for moving up the pay scale. Such systems have been shown to work against those with caring responsibilities and Black & minority ethnic workers.

This government’s policies are having a devastating effect on women and the ground we have won over the last 40 years. The impact of their neoliberal austerity measures and the increasing costs that all households have to carry, together with no pay rises and cuts to services, pushes more women into poverty.  With the majority of single parents being women, it is essential that the campaign for equal pay is a fight we take up.

Promoting equality at school for all young people is a priority for school staff and we are proud that young women continue to achieve well at school. Sadly, we know that this equality is not something our students will find in the workplace.

As educators & trade unionists, we have a duty to campaign, not only for fair pay for ourselves, but for the young women we teach.

This is why the London & Nottingham NUT Women’s Networks are taking action to mark Equal Pay Day.  It’s a campaign we are starting this year but we want you to help us build the campaign in the coming year so that in 2014 it’s even bigger.

You can start by helping to spread awareness on social media using Thunderclap, which will automatically send out a message on your behalf via Twitter or Facebook on Friday at 9pm.

GUEST POST: Phillipa is a primary classroom teacher in South London. She is an active member of the National Union of Teachers at local, regional and national levels and a leading member of the London NUT Women’s Network.