Negotiating Priorities for Women

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2004 National Women's Conference
13 October 2003
Carried as Amended

National Women’s Conference welcomes the new legislation on improving maternity and paternity rights. However, women recognise that this is a starting point only for improving parents’ and carers’ rights in the workplace. Linked to this is negotiating enhanced national childcare provision looking beyond the statutory limit and seeking to campaign for a right to flexible working not merely a right to apply for flexible working.

Conference is also reminded of the position of staff in educational establishments in respect of term-time working and the disparity with teaching staff in education. The majority of these workers are women. The current arrangement which requires term-time workers covered by 52 week contracts, but paid only for term-time working, being prevented from claiming job seekers allowance, creates constant stress for these women members. Linked to this is the impact of annualised hours reducing women’s pension contributions leaving them in a vulnerable position in retirement.

Conference instructs the National Women’s Committee to:

1)pursue enhancing flexible working as part of a negotiating agenda for UNISON women with the appropriate sectors within the union;

2)press for the inclusion of term-time workers on UNISON’s negotiating agenda for women with the appropriate sectors within the union as a priority in respect of earnings and pension provision for this group of workers;

3)continue to campaign for the issue of work/life balance as a priority within UNISON for our women members;

4)continue its campaign for equal pay, and to tackle discrimination against part-time workers.

Conference notes that the pay gap for part-time workers remains unacceptably high. Conference reaffirms its commitment to tackling the pay gap until discrimination in pay is eliminated.