Next week sees International Women's Day being celebrated around the world. As women we've come so far in achieving equality in the workplace and in wider society. But sadly we've still got a lot of work to do when it comes to tackling the gender pay gap. New research published by the TUC today reveals that the average woman has to wait nearly a fifth of a year (66 days) before she starts to get paid, compared to the average man. The TUC has branded this day Women's Pay Day - the day the average woman starts getting paid compared to the average man
As the Trades Union Congress (TUC) meets in Brighton this week for its 148th annual gathering, it faces in one way or another essentially the same challenge that it has done since it was first founded. Jobs, work and employment take place as ever under capitalism but capitalism is constantly re-configuring the way jobs, work and employment are organised.
One of the great things about the trade union movement though, is that simply by existing it protects workers whether it's allowed into a workplace officially or not. By ensuring that a big enough stink was caused about Sports Direct that Ashley has been dragged in front of MPs, Unite have done more for Sports Direct workers than Ashley has ever even considered doing.
I am taking part in industrial action because by asking us to do more for less our employers are ruining the experiences of our students and because I can see the unfairness of my employer employing the majority of men (52%) on permanent, full-time contracts, whilst the majority of women (56.4%) are in casualised employment. I will be standing shoulder to shoulder with colleagues and students in defence of higher education and to make it clear that casualisation and pay inequality are not acceptable.
So they are an array of tactics open to unions over and above the open defiance of striking officially where the new thresholds have not been met. But it will mean unions thinking outside their comfort zones and boldly stepping into unchartered territory. Whether they will do so or not will be a key test of their mettle and ingenuity.
Since the Conservative party "won" the UK general election on May 7th, people have taken to the streets across the UK in a defiant display of disenchantment with the electoral system and the austerity consensus of the major political parties. The prospect of 5 more years of crippling austerity has prompted many to reclaim the future of UK politics.
The legislation Farage wants to get rid of wasn't put in place by an overpaid quango who had nothing better to do, but by working people campaigning and protesting for over a century. When someone leading the third biggest party in the country can dismiss that history so casually, there is more need for these laws and protections than ever.
It is difficult to know whether novelty sock puppet Nigel Farage thinks he and his squinty-eyed troop of yokels have really become a force in UK politics or if he is in fact a fully paid-up stooge of a vast conspiracy of right-wing Tories who communicate via secret messages in the weave of their tweed that only they can understand.
I shall not here divulge the employer, but whilst a student I was employed as a cash-in-hand worker in a small firm in the food service sector. Every morning in the holidays I would rise at four and commence work half an hour later; invariably greeted with the frenetic work schedule common in the sector and occasionally with threats of violence to my person.
The new leader of the TUC has launched a strong attack on the Government for its "vicious spiral" of spending cuts which are hitting low-paid workers ...