E-Equality Newsletter No. 19 Oct 2009

  • UER Training Course launched in the regions
  • Are you an elected UER?
  • One-day Seminar for Education and Health Sector Reps
  • Manchester Pride Festival
  • Equality and Discrimination Law News
  • Other News
  • Other Events and Training

UER Training Course launched in the regions

Following a very successful pilot of the UERs’ 5-day training course at Durham University , which was attended by 60 UERs in July, the course is now going to be run in all the regions by the Unite Education Department and will form part of Unite’s core education programme. If you are an elected UER and did not attend the training in Durham, you should apply to attend a course in your region. To find out more and apply go to the Education Department web pages.

Any enquires about the UERs’ 5-day training programme should be directed to Education in your region and not to the UERs’ Project Team as the team is not responsible for running the courses.

An on-line version of the UER 5-day training course is being developed, along with additional training modules on the different strands of equality, dignity at work and the public sector equality duties. These will be available for UERs to attend in 2010.

More information about the Equality Reps’ Project is available at the Unite website:

Are you an elected UER?

If you are an elected UER and have not let the UER Project Team know can you please do so by e-mailing Bridget Clemson at  with your name, contact details and employer. Bridget will then register you as a UER on the membership system and arrange to send you your accreditation details and UER card.
One-day Seminar for Education & Health Sector Reps

Are are an Education or Health Sector Rep and interested in equality and discrimination issues? Then come along to one of the seminars that we are running in your region in January 2010 as part of the Unite Equality Reps’ Project.

The seminar will:-

  • introduce the Unite Equality Reps’ Project
  • see how UERs can make a difference
  • discuss the Public Sector Equality Duties
  • look at equality issues in your workplace

The dates and venues of the seminars in 2010 are detailed in the application form. You should apply to attend a seminar in your region. A seminar is being arranged for Northern Ireland and the date and venue will be advertised shortly:-

Please follow the link and complete and return the attached application form to Bridget Clemson by 16th November 2009.

Places are limited so to ensure a place on the seminar please return your form as soon as possible.

Manchester Pride Festival

Having fun took on a serious note when Unite took part in the Manchester Pride festival over the bank holiday weekend.

Activist and staff in the Unite North West Region took the Equality for All message to Manchester Pride in the form of a bus decked out in Unite colours and packed with information and help for LGBT workers. Unite also had a stall in a prime position at the festival where the union was able to speak to and advise members on their rights in a comfortable environment. New members were also recruited over the three day period.

During the festival Unite planned to get as many people as possible to complete surveys highlighting the most important issue for them in the workplace. On the first day alone over 300 surveys were completed giving Unite a valuable tool to use in the bargaining agenda when improving working lives for LGBT workers.

Equality and Discrimination Law News

The EHRC reiterates call for retirement age to be abolished following high court ruling

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has renewed its call on the Government to scrap the Default Retirement Age (DRA), following a recent high court ruling.

Although the judge in the case, in which the EHRC intervened, ruled that the DRA was lawful when first introduced, he also stated that there is now a ‘compelling’ case for setting the age higher than 65.

The EHRC is asking the Government to abolish the DRA using the Equality Bill, which is soon to be debated in the House of Lords, rather than wait until a review of the policy next year.

Denham gives councils go ahead to raise £500m to sort equal pay

Thousands of underpaid workers stand to get half a billion pounds in backdated equal pay settlements in another major step towards ending years of unfairness, Communities Secretary John Denham has announced.

Underpaid council workers stand to get half a billion pounds in backdated equal pay settlements in another major step towards ending years of unfairness.

Thirty-seven councils are being given the go ahead by John Denham to borrow against or sell assets up to £501m so they can meet and manage the one-off costs of settling their equal pay promises faster.

The announcement – welcomed by local authorities and trade unions – will assist councils to accelerate their equal pay commitments. This will help councils to pay many thousands of employees – mostly women on low pay – the backdated pay promises that they are still owed.

Other News

EHRC Inquiry Reveals 80 per cent Gender Pay Gap in Finance

Women in some of the UK ‘s leading finance companies receive around 80 per cent less in performance related pay than male colleagues, an inquiry by the EHRC has found. The disparity is a major factor behind the massive gender pay gap in the finance sector.

The Commission’s Finance Sector Inquiry, published today, includes data from a questionnaire sent to 50 companies employing 22.6 per cent of workers in the sector. It reveals nearly all women taking up new jobs in these companies still start on lower average salaries than men, suggesting the gender gap is being further entrenched by recruitment patterns.

The Inquiry also suggests that the sector’s age profile may be a key factor blocking women’s success. An unusually high proportion of workers in the sector fall into the 25-39 age group – the age at which women tend to have childcare responsibilities.

Findings from the data supplied to the Commission include:

  • Women employees earned an average of £2,875 in annual performance related pay compared to an average of £14,554 for men – a gender pay gap of 80 per cent.
  • A gap in annual basic pay between women and men of 39 per cent. However, this gender pay gap rises to 47 per cent for annual total earnings when performance related pay, bonuses and overtime are taken into account.
  • Among the organisations who responded, women received significantly lower performance related pay on average than men in 94 per cent of cases.
  • In 86 per cent of responses to the Commission, women who had started their jobs in the last two-and-a-half years had lower starting salaries on average than men starting in the same period
  • Significant ‘in-grade’ gender pay gaps in at least half of all job grades/categories, where men and women are assumed to be doing the same or equivalent work, were found in 63 per cent of cases.
  • Less than half of cases report making some effort to address the pay gap
  • Only 23 per cent of cases report that they have undertaken an equal pay audit.

As a whole, the finance sector has one of the highest overall gender pay gaps in the UK economy – with women working full-time earning 55 per cent less annual gross salary than men. This compares to a pay gap of 28 per cent for the economy generally.

Find out more and download the Inquiry report

Female Couples given same rights as heterosexual couples

Female couples now have the same rights as heterosexual couples when registering the birth of a child conceived as a result of fertility treatment. See here.

Unilever Pushes Casual Tea Workers Deeper into Poverty for Demanding Rights

Unilever Pakistan management has escalated its vicious attack on casual workers at its Lipton/Brooke Bond tea factory in Khanewal, Pakistan, punishing workers who are demanding direct, permanent employment by denying them work and driving them deeper into poverty. Tell Unilever to stop retaliating and start negotiating an end to disposable jobs and institutionalized poverty. [Link]

New Government Helpline

The Government has launched a new helpline which has been set up to help workers who may be facing exploitation at work: [Link]

The information is also available in other languages.  A Polish version can be found here:

USW Women of Steel Ask Lawmakers to Protect Honduran Women Brutalized by Coup Regime

Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) Women of Steel organization have action by the U.S. Department of State to protect Honduran woman who have been brutalized by officials of the coup regime.

The organisation asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to intervene for Honduran women in the resistance who are being threatened by acts of sexual and physical violence.

The Woman of Steel activists also sent copies of the letter to two dozen U.S. Senators and other government officials the organization hopes can end the violence documented by the group Feministas de Honduras en Resistencia.

To view letter: please see here:

Equality and Diversity Forum Newsletter

Please click here to sign up to and read the latest Equality and Diversity Forum Newsletter.
Other Events and Training

Regional Equality Conferences

A reminder that the Regional Equality Conferences are taking place in October.
The dates are available here.
You should contact your Regional Office if you would like to attend.
Contact details for your Regional Office are available here

Black History Month

Black History Month is held in Britain every October. Click on  http://www.black-history-month.co.uk/ to find out about events in your region.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To get involved and/or donate click here

Single Equalities Bill Seminar
Wednesday 9th December 2009, London

To find out more and book a place .
You would need to arrange your funding for attendance from your Region or Sector.

If you would like to receive the e-equality Newsletter on a regular basis and are not doing so already, please contact Bridget Clemson, National Administrator, Equalities, with your e-mail address, to be added to our contact list. Her e-mail address is bridget.clemson@unitetheunion.com

Join one of our equality networks:

You can also join our Equality Reps’ Facebook site.

Please feel free to circulate this bulletin to other Unite representatives, shop stewards and members.

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