We are the women who stand together – and we make Glasgow

Sylvia Haughney
Sylvia Haughney

#stucwomen18  Equal pay strikers, UNISON’s Sylvia Haughney and the GMB’s Shona Thomson, got the STUC Women’s Conference rocking with great speeches on the Glasgow equal pay campaign and strike.
The conference gave them, the video of their campaign, and the emergency motion a rousing reception.

Sylvia, a UNISON striker who has worked in Glasgow’s Education services for 37 years, moving the motion, told delegates that striking was not an easy decision to take for any of the workers but they were resolute that the fight would go on for pay justice.

Here we print Sylvia’s inspiring speech in full.

“I am a GCC employee , in Education Services and have been for 37years. I work in a school for children with Additional Support Needs.

“On the 23rd and 24th of this month, I along with 8 thousand of my colleagues in catering , cleaning and home care services went on strike. Now that was not an easy decision to to make for any of us…..

“I love my job.

“I care for the children that I support.

“I care for their personal needs .

“I care and support their educational needs.

“And I care as I watch the children that I work with thrive and move on.

“So why did I , along with my 8 thousand colleagues, predominately women , take this action?

“Because this fight is not about terms and conditions.

“And it’s certainly not about party politics, as much as it seems to be becoming one.

“Although, with Susan Aitken’s (leader Glasgow Council) comments ‘the women don’t know what their striking for’ let me say this….

“This fight is about social justice and equal pay.   A fundamental right to be treated fairly and equally.

“More than a decade ago it came to light that GCCs predominantly female workforce were being paid less than their male counter parts. What did the council do? At Christmas time They offered the Equal Pay carrot.

“With no negotiated financial settlements GCC cheated low paid women out of thousands of pounds.

“In January this year, the Court of Session ruled that the WPBR pay and grading scheme that was put in place 12 years ago to stop the pay inequality was actually deemed less favourable to women.

“So what I now fully understand is that GCC doesn’t care about me or my predominately female colleagues. Because over the last 12 years they have spent 2.5 million pounds in court trying to block my right to pay equality.

“There was a agreement from the council in January this year, with all UNIONs concerned, to negotiate on a financial settlement for the discriminated back payments.

“In June the council broke their agreement and reported that they wouldn’t negotiate on the financial settlements .

“So to us low paid women, it appears its down to cost   And they are going to offer what they can afford to give us… Not what our equal value is worth.

“So what did we say to Glasgow City Council last Tuesday?

“We are the working women of Glasgow.

“We are the women who stand together and we make Glasgow.

“And the fight will go on… For Pay Justice.”


More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/STUCWomen/

And the STUC website http://www.stuc.org.uk/about/equalities/women

STUC Womens Conference Home