Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says:
“On International Women’s Day we celebrate women’s contribution to society, family life and workplaces. We also continue our campaigning for more to be done to better support women by tackling discrimination and promoting equality.
“In the world of work there are still many challenges. It is more than forty years since the Equal Pay Act and the Sex Discrimination Act, yet progress to close the gender pay gap has stalled and some studies suggest it has now started to widen, as women unfairly bear the brunt of austerity. Our ‘time for better pay’ survey found that only 37% of women workers earn over £10 per hour, so our call for a minimum wage of at least £10 would be a huge step in the right direction.
“Sexual harassment is an issue far too many working women face. Our survey found that 6 out of 10 have experienced sexual harassment in the last 12 months and that increases to over 90% of young women. Usdaw is speaking up for women affected by this issue, giving them a voice and changing the culture in workplaces.
“Strong employment and equality rights during pregnancy and maternity leave are absolutely necessary, pregnant workers often face discrimination and unfair treatment at work, from not getting time off for ante natal appointments to inadequate rest breaks and lack of a proper risk assessment. Women in unorganised workplaces and migrant women face particular problems and are often too afraid or vulnerable to assert their rights.
“The basic human right to live a life free from violence is denied to millions of women and girls every day. It is estimated that violence against women internationally is the cause of more death and injury than malaria, cancer, traffic accidents and war put together. In the UK this violence takes many forms including: domestic violence; rape and sexual violence; sexual harassment; forced marriage, trafficking and sexual exploitation. Although men may experience violence of this kind, these acts are overwhelmingly carried out by men against women.
“Strong trade union organisation is good for women workers. One of the most effective ways to deliver better pay, decent work and fairness for women at work is for employers to recognise and work with trade unions.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 420,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
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