Council strikes blow for gender equality, cuts women’s pay by 25%
Lynne Miles // 17 April 2009
Sheffield City Council has announced a salary restructuring as a result of the onerous duty of gender equality legislation. Apparently the unreasonable burden of having to pay the workers equally for doing similar jobs has caused them a great deal of trouble. When they looked into it they found – as so many do – that they weren’t. Solution? Cut the pay of your lowest worker, blame the lefties who made you do it.
“The Labour government has forced us into this“, grumbles the Lib Dem deputy leader of the council, David Baker. Angela Smith, a councilor concerned about the way the process has been undertaken, says it’s ironic that a piece of legislation intended to tackle the pay gap between men and women has been used to justify cutting the pay of some of the most poorly paid people in the workforce.
The BBC interviewed Michelle Brindley. Michelle is a teaching assistant at a school for children with special educational needs. She used to earn £17,000. Soon she’ll be earning £14,000. She’s been in the job 25 years.
Sheffield council say to bring workers’ pay to parity by lifting them up to the same level rather than imposing 20-25% pay cuts would cost in the region of £2m. For comparison, that’s one third of one percent of their annual operating budget. They’re operating a budget deficit, of course, but who the hell isn’t operating a budget deficit these days?
Meanwhile, Michelle has taken a 20% pay cut. And she has to take a calculator around with her when she goes to the supermarket.
Jender at Feminist Philosophers sums it up nicely:
A gross injustice is being carried out in the name of feminism, and we MUST fight it. It is deeply offensive to call this feminist, and it is precisely the sort of thing that convinces people that feminists are elitists happy to sacrifice the pay of low-paid workers for some deeply confused notion of gender equality
***update: you can complain to Sheffield City Council here***
Hat tip to Jender @ Feminist Philosophers