It is 45 years since women at the Ford Dagenham car plant went on strike for fair pay. The sewing machinists were angry at being treated as unskilled workers. Their grievance exposed the difference in pay between men and women and led to the Equal Pay Act. Despite the law 45 years on there is still a 15% pay gap. And despite the first female general secretary the gap is widening. The public sector which led the way in flexible working and fair pay has shrunk and continues to shrink. Women who make up nearly 80% of the public sector workforce have been disproportionately disadvantaged by out sourcing and job losses. As the general secretary of the TUC has said this is a backward step.
Blair McPherson is author of An Elephant in the Room about introducing equality and diversity into public sector organisations published by Russell House www.blairmcpherson.co.uk