This video from Britain is called Interview with Frances O’Grady, voted TUC’s first female general secretary.
By Frances O’Grady, British Trades Union Congress general secretary:
The Tories’ trouble with women
Tuesday 12 March 2013
The government – and the Prime Minister – clearly has a problem with women. And women clearly have a problem with David Cameron.
Recent polling suggests 51 per cent of female voters would plump for Labour under Ed Miliband, and only 25 per cent for Cameron’s Conservatives.
Women are suffering the worst consequences of the economic slump, at a time when their rights are under attack as never before.
We are up against the most right-wing, most ideological, most anti-women government in modern British history. A government dominated by rich, white, privately educated men and a front bench that is overwhelmingly pale, male and stale.
Everywhere you look it’s women who are being hit the hardest by the government’s obsession with austerity.
Women are being hit by cuts to vital public services, by the million jobs being slashed in the public sector, by the scourge of unemployment, by the weakening of our employment laws and by the callous cuts to welfare and benefits.
Since the government took office the labour market has changed dramatically.
Nearly two million women are working too few hours to get by, sometimes juggling two or more jobs, and often on agency contracts.
Meanwhile official unemployment figures fail to count the massive surge in self-employment, much of it bogus, with secretaries among those most likely to find themselves no longer PAYE.
The spread of zero-hours contracts puts a growing army of care assistants and supermarket cashiers at their bosses’ beck and call.
From one day to the next, women don’t know when they will work and, if so, for how many hours.
As a result planning childcare and budgeting for household bills becomes nigh on impossible as unpredictable hours mean unreliable money.
And watch out women, the finger of blame is pointing our way.
After all, it can’t be George Osborne‘s fault that Britain lost its triple-A rating, the national debt is rising and the economy’s on its knees. So it must be that paid time off you took to have a baby.
Similarly it’s hard to believe that no-one in government has noticed that the biggest casualties from ministers’ huge onslaught on rights at work are women.
The doubling of the qualification period for rights to protection against unfair dismissal and the introduction of tribunal fees that price vulnerable workers out of justice. Osborne’s Autumn Statement announcement that businesses would be able to offer workers the “choice” of swapping maternity and other basic employment rights for shares. All are likely to hit women the hardest.
And when the Prime Minister spoke so eloquently recently about repatriating powers from Europe, he omitted to mention that it was workers’ rights he wanted to bring back to Britain – and that’s certainly not so he can improve on them. Maternity rights, equal treatment for women and part-time workers, and paid holidays are all under threat.
And, despite evidence of depressed consumer demand holding back economic growth, we’re told that capping benefits for the low-paid and the unemployed, and cutting the real pay of dedicated public-sector workers – two-thirds of them women – is a necessary price for recovery.
If Cameron and his ministers keep cutting services, jobs and rights at work, then it’s likely that at the next election the women of Britain will want to exact the most devastating revenge.
But the election is over two years away and women are suffering now. Next month, just as millionaire bankers get a tax cut, there will be changes to tax credits and benefits that will hit ordinary women and their families much harder than anyone else.
And none are worse affected than older women who are among the most disadvantaged, marginalised and vulnerable people in our society.
They may be the generation that fought for equal pay but they have yet to see it become a reality.
Women over 50 may have been the generation that nurtured our public services but they are the ones now being hit hardest by redundancies.
Equally they might have been the generation that shaped 1970s feminism – but they are still being discriminated against now.
That’s why the TUC has launched a major campaign highlighting the unique set of challenges facing women over 50 in Britain today.
The TUC’s Age Immaterial campaign suggests that half of all the women in the UK over 50 are working part-time, often so they can mind grandchildren, and most earn less than £10,000 a year.
In the weeks and months ahead, the TUC will be banging the drum for change. We’ll be calling for a range of policies to meet the social and economic needs of older women and working with a range of organisations so that the voices of older female workers, and women pensioners, are at the heart of everything we do.
Women of all ages are struggling under this government as family budgets are at breaking point.
Barely a week goes by without another announcement with yet more bad news.
In addition to the plethora of cuts to tax credits and benefits that have been introduced since 2010, from the bedroom tax to the recent capping of benefit and tax credit rises at 1 per cent, the value of money at families’ disposal is shrinking.
We urgently need to address this calamitous slide in living standards and tonight in Westminster we’ll be holding our A Future For Families rally.
Everyone there will be turning up to tell Osborne in no uncertain terms that this country needs an alternative. An alternative to falling living standards, to services slashed to the bone and to benefit cuts and freezes that are making life very harsh for women and their families – all while the richest get a nice big tax cut.
This country needs a budget for jobs, for growth and for families, and for the government to abandon its disastrous, damaging and failing austerity economics.
Put justice for women at the heart of our economy: here.
Working women’s rights and conditions across all industries are being subjected to a “pincer attack” as a result of government austerity policies, union delegates warned today: here.
- Majority of British kids ‘face poverty within 2 years’ (morningstaronline.co.uk)
- Economic crisis, but not for rich Britons (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- UK workers suffer sharpest wage fall of any developed country as business leaders warn the pain is far from over (thisismoney.co.uk)
- British women’s pay discrimination (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Households hammered: 9 in 10 families to be worse off by 2015 by up £2,000 a year (mirror.co.uk)
- TUC boss: Cameron will seize your EU employment rights to weaken them (guardian.co.uk)
- Future for Families: Pre Budget rally to protest against George Osborne’s austerity policies (mirror.co.uk)
- Dark times Ahead for Most children In The UK (21stcenturywire.com)
- Women are now to the left of men. It’s a historic shift | Seumas Milne (guardian.co.uk)
- Majority of British children will soon be living in poverty, report warns (express.co.uk)
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