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'GENDER PAY GAP IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT A SCANDAL' SAYS UNION

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Unison has welcomed the Equal Opportunities Commission proposals (see ...
Unison has welcomed the Equal Opportunities Commission proposals (see LGCnet) to address the pay gap between men and women, calling progress since the introduction of the Equal Pay Act, 'painfully slow'.
Unison has 600,000 women members in local government and senior national officer, Heather Wakefield, said: 'The gender pay gap in local government is a scandal. Women make up 71% of the total workforce in local government, yet they earn 79% of men's pay.
'After 25 years of the Equal Pay Act, progress is painfully slow. The government must accept responsibility and bring an end to pay discrimination in the biggest area of women's employment in Europe.
'Lack of funding is preventing local councils from achieving equal pay through the national single status agreement, which was designed to end pay discrimination.
'And, best value is forcing down women's wages and pensions even further through privatisation. The government should put its money where its mouth is. Despite all our lobbying it has so far refused to provide councils with any extra resources to help deliver equal pay.'
Unison believes that the systematic undervaluing of women's work in local government is a national scandal. Women are employed in key areas such as home care, nursery nurses, classroom assistants, school meals staff, library workers, and housing advisers.
They are essential to every community and the well-being of our entire society. Lack of progress is leading to a recruitment crisis in local government as members are voting with their feet and taking less stressful, higher paid jobs elsewhere.
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