nick venedi

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

International Women's day 100 years

Press release from Unison coinciding with international women's day

Councils could face legal challenges over job cuts says UNISON
- 78% did not complete equality impact assessments over job cuts On the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, UNISON, the UK’s leading public sector union, is warning that councils could face legal challenges over job cuts on equality grounds. An FOI request by the union reveals that 72% of councils did not complete equality impact assessments (EIA) over their initial redundancy proposals*, 78% of councils did not complete EIAs on their final job loss plans. Under public sector equality duties, councils must give ‘due regard’ to equality when making decisions. Completing equality impact assessments is one of the key ways for councils to do this. The union is calling on local authorities to put the brakes on, and properly assess the impact of job cuts. Heather Wakefield, UNISON head of local government, said: “Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, but evidence is mounting that it could be a backward, not forward step for equality in 2011. Councils are duty bound to make sure job cuts do not have a disproportionate impact on women, on workers with disabilities or ethnic minority staff. But this survey shows they are flouting the rules and ploughing ahead with heavy job cuts regardless. “Councils should put the brakes on and take a closer look at the effect of job cuts. Women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities are well represented in the local government workforce, so there’s a real chance that heavy job losses will fall disproportionately onto these groups. This could leave the door wide open to costly and time-consuming legal challenges.“There’s growing proof that the Tory-led government’s actions are bad for women and bad for equality, but it’s easy street for the party’s beloved bankers. In the 100 years since the first international women’s day, great strides towards fairness have been taken, but this hard-won progress must not be sacrificed to pay for the recession.” *A full regional breakdown of the 235 local authorities that responded to the UNISON survey is attached. UNISON asked - In the financial year 2009/10, where proposals that resulted in early retirements, voluntary or compulsory redundancies have been made has an Equality Impact assessment been undertaken of a) the initial proposals and/or b) the final outcome?Initial proposal –28% (64) councils did complete EIAs, 72% (167) did not complete EIAs in 2009/10 Final outcome – 22% (51) councils did complete EIAs, and 78% (179) did not complete EIAs in 2009/10

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